If you work for the likes of Google, Amazon, Hubspot, or other US-owned companies in Ireland, bringing your dog to work is perfectly normal. A recent survey by the American Pet Products Association found that 1.4 million dog-owners take around 2.3 million dogs to work every day in the US — It’s not just confined to the annual trot around the office for the Take Your Dog to Work Day. And these dog-friendly companies are definitely onto a winner – with recent research confirming what dog-lovers say they knew all along! – dogs in the workplace can lower stress, absenteeism and increase productivity.
A study in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management (http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=17024849) found that stress declined over the course of a day in employees who brought their dog to work, while it rose for dog owners who left their dogs at home and for non-dog owners. Though it was a small study, there’s plenty of other research showing that having a pet or just petting a dog reduces stress.
So while we’re more at the annual trot-out stage in Ireland, dog-friendly workplaces are becoming more common, with the large US companies leading the way for big business.
And it’s not just the workplace that dogs are venturing into; they’re also in our prisons, being looked after and trained by inmates. A new programme was launched in June 2014, which sees the Irish Prison Service partnering with the Dogs for the Disabled charity (http://www.dogsfordisabled.ie). Puppies are going to be bred and looked after at the Dochas Centre in Dublin, while dogs are being trained by prisoners in Shelton Abbey in County Wicklow. The CEO of the charity says that prisoners are playing an important role in the training of the dogs. It’s a great initiative which sees the charity provide assistance dogs for children and adults with disabilities of various forms.
The following articles provide some good light reading on dog-friendly workplaces: