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York offices welcome dogs in workspace
If every dog has its day, June 24 — which serves as National Take Your Dog to Work Day — would seem to be a popular choice.
Several York County businesses and organizations are expected to participate on Friday, while others have been exploring the idea of allowing man's best friend around the office on a more regular basis.
Mandy Arnold, president of Gavin Advertising, said her old English bulldog, Duff, is a company mascot and mainstay in their downtown York office.
"He provides comedic value," Arnold said. "That can be particularly helpful for our employees if they're having a tough or stressful day."
Benefits: Kristen Tullo, director of the state Humane Society, said more businesses around the state and country are starting to realize the potential benefits of allowing a furry friend in a work environment.
Tullo pointed to separate studies conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University and Michigan University that connected dogs in an office with lower stress levels and more camaraderie among employees.
"There's also direct health benefits," Tullo said, "because employees will need to go outside during the day to walk their dog."
The York County Convention and Visitors Bureau is one organization starting to take advantage of those benefits, allowing one employee to bring in their dog or dogs each Friday between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Diane Yocum, business and administration director, said she brought two of her three Yorkies to work last Friday, and they just laid on her desk most of the day.
"I think it really lightens people's moods," Yocum said of the new policy. "Makes you feel better if you're having a tough day."
Policies: Tullo said employers looking into welcoming employee dogs in the office should establish policies to avoid any negative confrontations.
Tullo's list of steps includes: find out how many employees would be interested, address any negative feedback, go over any legal and liability concerns, and make sure the office is well suited both inside and outside to handle dogs.
Offices should make sure to designate a dog-free space so that everyone is happy, Tullo added.
Arnold said that space is not needed at Gavin because being a dog lover is a requirement in their talent recruitment process.
Ironically, Duff will not be in the office Friday because Arnold will be on vacation, but she said other employees might be permitted to bring in their dogs if they give notice.
Trial run: Tullo said National Take Your Dog to Work Day can serve as a great trial run for companies exploring office dog policies.
Kristen Evans, of Downtown Inc, and Sully Pinos, chief of staff for state Rep. Kevin Schreiber, D-York City, said they're both planning to have their tail-wagging companions accompany them to the office Friday.
Evans said she's brought her beagle, Winston, by the office before, but never for more than a half-hour.
"He's the chillest," Evans said when asked if she's worried about Winston in an office setting. "He'll probably just sleep all day."
Pinos, meanwhile, said she'll have to decide between bringing Sandy or Luigi, both rescued Shih Tzus, and her decision will come down to whichever is less "rambunctious" that day.
Tullo advises dog owners not to bring in their pets if they know they won't get along with others, but she said most pet parents are responsible.
"Overall, though, there's really no negatives," she said. "Plus, when employers do this, it increases pet adoption."