By Samantha Venator
Koni Critch doesn’t go to work at Redi Energy in Fort McMurray alone. Her two dogs a cocker spaniel and Yorkshire terrier follow her into the office most weekends.
Koni works as an administrative assistant and says “Sitting at a desk for nearly twelve hours a day isn’t so healthy, having my dogs with me gives me a reason to get up move around and go for a little walk while they do their business”
More and more workplaces are allowing employees to bring their loyal companions to work with them. Terena Gunderson from Tazi Electric brings her one and half-year-old Havanese cross named Lexi with her almost every day “She’s kennel trained, but I just feel so bad leaving her in a kennel if she can come to the office with me.”
Terena makes sure to ask any visitors to the office if they have pet allergies, Havanese are considered a hypoallergenic breed but Terena likes to let visitors know she has Lexi with her.
“She’s very friendly and loves people and other dogs, every once and awhile others will bring their dogs into the office as well.”
Having your dog in your workplace has been shown to boost morale, increase productivity, and keep employees motivated. It also provides employees with a reason to step away from their desks and get outside for a workday break.
Even global companies like Amazon are getting on the “bring your dog to work” bandwagon. Amazon spokeswoman Michele Glisson says “At Amazon, all dogs are required to be on-leash except when they’re in an office with the door closed or behind a baby gate.”
It’s important to keep in mind, not all dogs are a fit to bring to the workplace and not all workplaces are a fit for dogs. If you work in a busy office, a yappy or loud dog probably won’t fit in and will most likely be seen a nuisance. Keeping this in mind workplaces should consider certain protocols before implementing a dog-friendly environment. Dogs should be up to date on their shots and not have a history of aggression towards people or other animals, to start.
Kassandra Heap a Registered Provisional Psychologist from Calgary states “The benefits of having pets in the workplace are immense. Research shows that the presence of animals has a calming effect, not only for the owner but also for the office as a whole. When employees are happy, less stressed and more comfortable, you’ll see greater productivity as an employer. I have seen first hand the power that pets have on those who experience mental health issues. Pets have an amazing ability to help us regulate our nervous system, which is inextricably linked to our mental health. When our nervous system is in overdrive, we experience things like anxiety, panic, and angry outbursts to name a few. There are some logistics that would need to be worked out, but overall the benefits of having healthier and happier employees outweigh the downsides in my mind.”
Local Fort McMurray business owner Kathy Bowers says her two small dogs Charlie and Macie can be found any day of the week happily greeting visitors to their office. Kathy wholeheartedly believes in the healing powers dogs offer, saying “We are a busy office and with the daily struggles in life, these two have comforted more people than anyone can imagine. Whether it’s cuddles or a pat on the head, they also love the attention!”
Kathy isn’t the only one to see their dog offering emotional support to not just themselves but others too. Fort McMurray resident Hamoudi Haidoura’s German Shepard named Charm is almost always by his side, lounging in her designated spot on a love set next to Hamoudi ’s desk while he’s working on clients electronics in for repair. Hamoudi’s works in a busy office building full of medical clinics, he sees his fair share of people walking by that stop to say “Hi” to Charm “complete strangers are steadily becoming repeat visitors. She brings comfort to the people...”
Are you one of the hundreds of Fort McMurray residents that are lucky enough to bring their dogs to work with them? Please share your stories in the comments, feel free to post pictures of your puppies at work!