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Why Your Firm Needs a Bring Your Dog to Work Policy

Look out, interns! We found someone who’ll fetch the tick marks for free!

When I first started working in public accounting, I gave away my beloved eight-year old dog to a family friend. A veterinarian once told me “neglect is the most profound form of cruelty.” Leaving my dog locked up for hours and hours and hours at a time while I audited during busy season or kenneling her while I traveled across the state on work assignments was just too cruel. In retrospect, I should have ditched public accounting and kept the dog, but hey, live and learn.

Having an animal requires a job with a work-life balance or “work-life integration,” as Forbes calls it, because after all, the work never really stops, does it? Some companies try to practice work-life integration by initiating “bring your dog to work” policies to reduce stress. Employees’ dogs can hang out in the cubicle or office during the work day either gnawing computer cables or populating internal control templates. A recent study by Central Michigan University (CMU) claims that dogs in the office could help build teamwork and trust. Having dogs in common, according to the research, boosts comradery and could actually make you like your coworkers more. I could definitely use a canine companion during networking events, as I traditionally hate people not named Mary Schapiro.

The CMU study admits that dogs can be distracting to employees at first, but that as the dogs settle in, the distraction dwindles, and the workers become just as productive as before. False. If given the choice between reviewing a 10-K tie out and playing Frisbee with my dog in the hallway at work, I will ALWAYS choose Frisbee. Career advancement be damned.

Many companies have started allowing dogs in the office, including Google, Nestle Purina PetCare Co, Zynga, Ben & Jerry’s, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, according to a 2013 Fortune article. Zynga even boasts a “wooftop” dog park and a “barking lot” outside the cafeteria. The “bring your dog to work” policy is subject to several restrictions. The dog must be current on vaccinations, non-aggressive, and not obnoxious, which is more than I can say for certain coworkers.

For accountants who work long and brutal hours, a “bring your dog to work policy” would allow us to keep both the job and the pet. However, for the non-pet lover, it’d be a lot like being the only person on your floor who hates children during “take your child to work day.” You’d probably spend most of the work day cringing in your cube with your headphones on thinking “’wooftop’ dog park my ass.” Some articles suggest “pet-free zones” for the non-dog person or the allergy sufferer, but this may be impossible if you work on a team of dog lovers. Also, what about accidents? My beloved eight year old dog had plenty of those – up to and including the time she shit under my grad school roommate’s brake pedal while my roommate was inside Kroger buying puppy treats. That dog was not to be trusted. Accident my ass.

Americans are definitely obsessed with their pets. They make their dogs a part of the family – including allowing them on the couch or in between the sheets at night – which, gross. Some people even file fraudulent tax returns for their pets. OK, that's taking things just a little too far.

Would you work for a company that allowed employees to take their dog to work? Does anybody work or audit a company that allows dogs in the office? Is it helpful or distracting? Would having pets around actually boost comradery? And what about the barking?