Bob Page will welcome more than 50 dogs, two ferrets and the odd duck into his china shop on Friday. Lucky for him, his employees don't own bulls.
LOS ANGELES — Bob Page planned to welcome more than 50 dogs, two ferrets and the odd duck into his china shop on Friday. Lucky for him, his employees don't own bulls.
Friday was Take Your Dog to Work Day, a campaign sponsored by Pet Sitters International to promote pet adoption. The group doesn't track how many workplaces participate, but said in the months leading up to it last year, nearly 100,000 people visited takeyourdog.com.
Page's company, Replacements, Ltd., in Greensboro, N.C., is the world's largest retailer of old and new china, crystal, silver and collectibles. And while the four-legged turnout will be bigger on Friday, it won't be that much different than any other day because employees at his plant are encouraged to bring pets every day.
The invitation on Page's company's front door reads: "Well-Behaved Pets Welcome," and it extends beyond Page's 490 employees to visitors, buyers, tourists and travelers, said spokeswoman Lisa Conklin.
"When you walk through here, people are smiling," explained Jeanine Falcon, vice president of human resources.
The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association says about one in five U.S. companies allow pets in the workplace. Many of the companies are smaller, but a few of the larger ones are Google, Amazon, Healthwise in Idaho and headquarters of the Humane Society of the United States in Washington, D.C.
Sophie, a 5-year-old bulldog, not only goes to work every day with her owner, the Rev. G.T. Schramm, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church in Shepherdstown, W.Va., but she has a job and a title too.
As "special pastoral assistant," her job is to greet and to listen. "She has an uncanny way of knowing when somebody comes in here upset or out of sorts," Schramm said.
And if there is a room full of people, it is her job to circulate and greet everyone, he added.
At Bare Necessities in Avenel, N.J., about 10 percent of the company's 90 employees planned to bring their dogs with them Friday.
Each dog owner makes a donation and the company, which sells branded intimate apparel for men and women online, matches the money and sends it to a local shelter, said Kiera Lim, director of acquisition marketing.
Lim and her husband, who also works for the company, will be bringing their boxers, Pixie, 2, and Jax, 3.
"It's a day to blend your home life and your work life," Lim said. "You spend so much time at work and your colleagues are great. If your pets are important to you, your co-workers have probably heard all about them. This is their chance to meet them."
Some companies will host contests, fundraisers or invite someone from a local shelter or pet-sitting service to talk to employees, Pet Sitters International spokeswoman Beth Stultz. There's an online photo contest for $500, a pet prize pack and a donation of $500 to the animal shelter or humane organization of the winner's choice.
But the main hope is that people who don't own pets see how happy pet owners are and go out and adopt a pet of their own, Stultz said.
On a normal day at Page's warehouse, retail store and museum, you can see 20 to 30 dogs, Conklin said. They've had visits from a few cats on leashes, a student duck, potbellied pigs, a rabbit and an opossum.
There are pet-free zones and commonsense rules. But the pet policy is considered a major perk for employees.
Falcon brings her 2-year-old, 125-pound, Bernese mountain dog Zola to work at least once a week and a lot more during the summer.
"When you come as a visitor and you see a dog, you can't help but smile or be tickled or delighted by that. When you start as a new employee, you are going to greet that dog or puppy and get to know that owner," Falcon said.
Employees remain strangers in some companies, never even looking at fellow workers, Falcon said.
"That doesn't happen here," she said. "The pets create an opportunity for connection. It happens without us trying to make it happen. We value it."
And, Conklin said, "If you are having a bad day or you're feeling stressed out and you see a fuzzy face and wagging tail, it really lifts you."