By Abbey Cannan
Bring Your Dog to Work Day was recently celebrated on Friday 26 June, but a Noosa doctor is questioning why the company of our furry friends should be limited to just one day.
Increased job satisfaction, team cooperation and morale have all been reported in employees that spend the workday with pets, and this is certainly the case at Noosa Outlook Medical Centre.
Dr Claire Lawrence said her eight-month-old Spoodle Pup, Forrest, attends the clinic on a regular basis.
“Having Forrest in my life has changed it for the better, but I also feel blessed to have him when his presence in the consult-room brings joy to a patient, however young or old they may be,” Dr Lawrence said.
“It will often trigger a story or comment about their past or present dog.
“He makes people smile which is priceless, and just what the doctor ordered.
“Many scientific studies have concluded that dogs create a reduced stress level in the workplace, which let’s face it, during these COVID-19 times, there has been plenty of stress.”
A US survey found that 78 per cent of employed pet parents would bring their dog to work if their employer allowed it—and nearly two-thirds would bring them along frequently.
Dr Lawrence said this is already a reality as more companies worldwide are adopting dog-friendly office policies, though Australia seems to be lagging behind.
“Amazon US added a small dog park to their facilities and provides doggie water fountains and treats at the reception desk.
“Google has even written ‘dog friendliness’ in its Code of Conduct.”
But before deciding to bring your dog to work, Dr Lawrence said it was important to ensure it does not adversely impact the health, welfare or working environment of the employees or visitors to your place of work.
“There are many benefits to owning a dog, both physical and psychological,” she said.
“It helps boost your cardiovascular health (by lowering blood pressure and triglycerides (bad fats) as well as increasing physical activity.
“Dogs are great motivators to get out and about.”
Dr Lawrence said growing up with a dog in infancy may strengthen the immune system, and hence children with dogs are less likely to miss days of school due to illness.
“A study of school children revealed pet owners were more popular and empathic with higher self- esteem and a more positive outlook on life. They reported less despair, boredom and loneliness,” she said.
“Dog owners have lower depression rates and appear to cope with grief, stress and loss better.
“They also enhance social connectedness and social skills and like anyone will know when they are walking a dog, they are great conversation starters. Pets are also great caregivers.”
Dr Lawrence said with dog ownership comes massive responsibility, commitment and cost and should be considered before embarking on getting a dog for the whole of its life.
Bring your Dog to Work Day first started in the UK back in 1996, and has since spread worldwide.
The day celebrates the companionship our dogs provide and also encourages adoptions from local shelters and rescue groups.