Why dogs make the best co-workers.

They may not have the same work ethic as their human counter parts… Meet Shih Tzu Halan.

They may pick the wrong moment to play… Meet Golden Retriever Bailey leaping nearly to the height of a 6’1” prospective client, removing the perfectly folded handkerchief from the breast pocket of his immaculate suit and running away with it gleefully.

They may assert themselves as the new office dog by letting one rip in their first all company meeting… Meet Levi Corgi.

Or they could be the perfect picture of an office dog, coming and going with his dad, sitting quietly on his couch, and doing an occasional office walk about to give his dad exercise while searching… meet King Charles Cavalier Parker.

These are just a few of the furry office friends I’ve had the pleasure of working with over the years. And they have all added fulfillment to my workday in their own ways.

So why are our furry friends so great to have in the office?

They bring happiness to the office setting.

Cheerful and fun to play with, they provide a work break excuse for head scratches, tummy rubs, toy throwing and of course, walks.

They are proven to reduce stress.

According to an article in Fast Company, “As the workday progressed, those employees who had brought their dogs to work experienced a decline in stress levels of eleven percent while those who didn’t have a furry pal near them saw their stress levels rise by up to seventy percent by the end of the day.”

Several additional studies have shown that simply petting a dog can increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decrease production of the stress hormone cortisol. That said, their presence can be good for the whole team.

People are inherently drawn to dogs, so they are beneficial to co-workers as well. Shih Tzu Halan comes to work with me every day and we get lots of visits, or should I say, Halan, gets lots of visits from team members as well as our downstairs tenants. Some to give him a scratch on the head, some to see if he’s on his chair next to me or sleeping on my desk. (That was not a onetime photo op as Halan prefers to be on the desk next to me when I work.)

Additionally, when I go to offsite meetings, team members watch after Halan. He enjoyed Sergio’s desk very much. (Practically demanded the placement with his chatting at Sergio, he’s very verbal and can be insistent.) He has been subject of many photo ops… Halan loves the attention.

Office dogs can even increase creativity.

Dogs require us to take breaks in the day, which in many industries are mandated by unions for employee health, but where it’s not law, we often power through our day and work. But, breaks and walks are important. A recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found going for a walk can boost creative thinking by as much as sixty percent compared to sitting.

Halan’s good at demanding these breaks… He’s quite verbal and when he wants something, he makes it known.

What’s in it for the dogs?

Well, lots of human interaction and attention. Who has ever met an anti-social dog? And what dog wants to be left home alone all day?

For Halan, there’s a pivotal moment every morning post Halan’s walk, my run, his breakfast, my coffee, and getting dressed when Halan waits anxiously wondering, “Will she take me with her? Will I have to stay home?” Then the ever-gratifying bouncing Shih Tzu as I pick up my bag and his leash at the same time realizing he’s coming to work. His excitement reignites about a block out from Fraser Communications, when he realizes where he is and the car dance begins. So I know he’s happy.

And I’m happy too.

Halan on desk
Halan the male Shih Tzu enjoying an afternoon snooze on Caroline Lenher’s desk