We all work harder than ever these days – with longer hours becoming ever more common. And there’s not always a pay rise to look forward to at the end of the year either! Just one more reason people get stressed in the workplace. Combating that stress isn’t easy. But recent research has shown that having dogs in the workplace can make a big difference to the health and mood of staff.
That may sound surprising to some, but the fact is, putting a pooch in the workplace (especially an office environment) is a strategy based on sound science. And here are just a few reasons why.
One of the main ways to combat stress is to encourage the release of endorphins – our body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Research in the US has shown that stroking a pet (particularly a cat or dog) can trigger for this process. Some zoologists believe that’s because it taps into a primal need to act out ancient grooming rituals. What is known for sure is that increased endorphins can reduce anxiety and – as a result – act as preventative measure against all too common stress-related illnesses such as heart attack and stroke. Which should give anyone paws for thought!
We all know how easy it is to get immersed in work and miss out on breaks or a proper lunch. The trouble is, while it may mean hitting that deadline or target, it can mean hitting your health too. Tired, tight muscles or strained eyes are not good for anyone’s productivity levels. Having a dog on hand means an extra incentive and focus for a well-earned break from the day-to-day grind.
It’s remarkable to think that many major organisations still spend silly money on elaborate team-building exercises. If only they’d discovered how much man’s best friend can influence how work colleagues get on. Studies have shown that with a dog in the workplace, the collective mood is enhanced and people are more inclined to co-operate to get the best result for the ‘team’.
So, dogs in the workplace: a good thing? Well, there is strong evidence to show it offer real benefits. But remember, some breeds work better than others (quiet calm types of dog work best!). And of course, practically, you need to make provision for the animal’s food, water and toilet requirements.
David Grieves knows a lot about dogs because he has been the proud owner of a golden retriever for years and regularly takes his dog to work. David work dealing with car accident compensation claims in Glasgow.
By Antsy McLain
As I write this, a steady rain taps on the window to my left, and distant thunder promises more of the same for the day. A gray Schnauzer sits a few feet away as I write this. He’s 6 years old now, approaching mid life, and seems to be content to be anywhere I am, doing anything I want to do. This, I’m sure you agree, is not the kind of relationship we can have with other humans.
We’re about to go “bye bye” to the store on the corner, so I can’t write for long. I have already said the words bye bye, and therefore set him at his hyper alert state, giddy at my slightest movement, and ready to bolt toward the door. He just whined a little, his low mournful whine that sounds so human, I’m thinking this sentence may not even get finished before I have to leave. (There. A few Snausages. He’ll be fine for a few more paragraphs.)
As we drive to the store, I will crack the window and let him smell everything outside the car as we ride. His nose will add the tell tale streaks on the glass as he watches the world go by. I’ll see the streaks the next time I get in the car without him, and smile. I’ll tell myself I need to wash them off, but I know I won’t follow through with it.
I wrote the word ‘dog owner’ a few times above as way to describe myself, and it immediately felt awkward. It didn’t sound right because it’s inaccurate. Charlie found us, and we never “bought” him from anyone. I don’t think of myself as “owning” Charlie. He’s a part of the family, or more accurately, we belong to the same pack.
Our son Grant was playing outside our house with his friends, and Charlie strutted up to him, picked Grant out from all the other kids, and didn’t leave. The kids all played with him, but he hung out with Grant. It was the same later when he met the rest of the family.
He had a collar with a tag that said “Buddy,” and we called the number. He had gone missing three months earlier about 40 miles away. They told us they had already replaced him, and we could have him. They offered to mail us his papers — meaning his pedigree (they proudly announced he was AKC) — but never impressed with the papers or credentials of humans all that much, we didn’t see why having papers would make this good-hearted dog any more valuable to us than he already was, so we declined.
Grant renamed him Charlie. Being schooled in the art of incentives (at least in the human family), I set out to learn Charlies favorite things, and within days discovered Charlies’s incomparable talents as a ball retriever (only yellow tennis balls, I found out), singer, and cuddler. Like all dogs, he responds to treats and the imminent possibility of road travel. Come to think of it, my favorite people also hold travel and junk food in high regard, so maybe it is “a pack thing.”
I wrote the song with Charlie next to me. I thought of him in every verse. I’ve had many dogs in my 50 years, some of them very close to me, two of them were soul mates. When Moo Moo died, I cried in long, hard fits that left pieces of my soul in dregs along the backyard to where I buried her. Those pieces of me are still there.
But never have I connected to the soul of a dog like this moppy, gray haired barker at my feet. And never have I learned more from an animal.
But you know, they say when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. And maybe it’s me. Maybe I was getting in my way all along. Charlie was out there. Waiting. And when it seemed we were ready, he came loping up the street and made friends with Grant.
We thought he was just sniffing us out. But more likely he was saying, “Hey, let’s go on an adventure! With lotsa treats, tennis balls and road trips! It’ll be fun! And you just might learn something.”
OK, Charlie, ready to go “BYE BYE?” Oh, man. You should see him now. ha.
from my good friend Scott Fornaciari
The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.
Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I know why.”
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.
He said,”People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The Six-year-old continued,
”Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”
Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
Stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Never pretend to be something you’re not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.