dr marten shoes uk More pets are going to work
URBANA The morning routine is the same as in most offices. Co workers Miles, Lily and Riley greet each other, admire new outfits, maybe sniff each other once or twice.
Canines of all stripes and spots roam the offices of the ASPCA Midwest Office in Urbana’s Sunnycrest Mall.
Forget family friendly; this is a family pet friendly work place. Here, you’d feel left out if you didn’t have a critter or two snoozing in the corner.
The office’s Animal Poison Control Center manages more than 100,000 calls a year from pet owners nationwide worried that their animals have consumed something poisonous.
Many of the employees are veterinarians or veterinary technicians, so they have a natural affinity for animals, said spokeswoman Dana Farbman. And having a furry companion by your side can be a great stress reliever.
“If you’re having a particularly difficult call, or you’ve managed a really tough case over the phone, it’s nice once you wrap up that case to be able to turn to your dog and give him a scratch behind the ears,” said Farbman, manager of client and professional relations. “You feel like your blood pressure is slowing.”
About half the employees take pets to work on a regular basis close to 60 animals altogether. Most are dogs. Cats, shall we say, are a bit harder to contain.
Some workers take more than one, or rotate pets so everyone gets a shot.
“We do actually have quite a detailed pet policy, but you can bring your pet as much as you want,” Farbman said.
For years, the practice was informally policed, but earlier this year, a “pets at work committee” came up with a policy.
The committee, chaired by Dr. Pam Reid, a certified animal behaviorist, meets to consider any problems that may arise.
“We really want to make sure that we can keep bring our pets to work and not have anybody get sent home forever,” Farbman said.
There have been pets who were a bit too aggressive and asked not to go back, but that’s rare, she said.
And no one’s ever complained, about the barking, allergies or anything else. This is, after all, an office filled with animal lovers.
Safety gates and dog beds in individual offices are provided by the owners, though Farbman said the ASPCA does keep some crates on hand “just in case” say, if an animal needs somewhere to “cool down.”
Some employees (or their spouses) are allergic to certain types of pets cats or rabbits, in particular, not that anyone’s ever taken a bunny to the office. If someone takes in a cat, they’re conscientious about keeping their office doors closed to limit unexpected contact, Farbman said.
Tamara Foss’s co workers have embraced her pets, Aslan, a red Doberman, and McKinley, an Aussie mix, both strays she rescued. She doesn’t have her own office, so she uses a makeshift pen to section off the cubicle she shares with colleague Heidi Godley.
“Aunt Heidi” watches the dogs when Foss has to attend meetings, and the two women often stagger their lunch hours so the dogs aren’t left alone. Godley, who has two Bassett hounds who “whine too much” to go to the office, said, “I get to have a dog here but not worry about taking it out or cleaning it up. I think it makes it a more relaxing work place.”
Foss agreed: “I feel better knowing they’re here. I can work longer if needed. I don’t have to worry about running home.”
The dogs are usually quiet. Aslan never makes a peep, eyes focused unnervingly at Foss as she talks or works. They spend much of the day sleeping Aslan on his huge dog bed, McKinley with his head resting on a chair.
“I love having the dogs here,” said associate Jessica Kendall, who has pictures of her own two dogs above her desk. “You can take a break and love on ’em. It’s kind of relaxing. It helps me not miss my two.”
Employees said they’ve worked at shelters or veterinary offices where they could take in pets, but they weren’t eager to expose them to sick animals and usually had to keep them in kennels, not under their desks.
Miles, Farbman’s energetic 1 year old Cairn terrier, has a plaid bed in Farbman’s cozy office, his “home away from home.” He usually sits there or waits by the gated door for someone anyone to stop by.
Down the hall, 6 year old Bacardi, a Lhasa Apso, sits at the very end of his red leash, attached to a computer work station inhabited by Craig Johnson. He’s a friend of Bacardi’s owner and takes him to work once or twice a week.
“Otherwise, he sits at home with a house full of cats,” Johnson said. “He enjoys it so much. He gets to guard the hallway.” But he confesses, “I don’t think I get as much done when he’s here.”
All of the dogs much prefer coming to the office over staying home.
“In the morning, when I’m getting ready, they’re standing by the door waiting for me,” said veterinary toxicologist Eric Dunayer, who walks a half mile to work each morning with his dogs, D’Argo, 3, and Xander, 1. “They get stimulation. People come and see them. They get treats. It’s better for them than sitting home all day in a locked kennel.”
Both dogs are large. D’argo, 3, is a Labrador retriever/shepherd mix and Xander is, well, anybody’s guess: black like a lab, with a curly tail, long spindly legs and white feet with black spots. They stay in a pen in the call center, and usually sleep all day.