- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 20, 2002

Chained to the desk? Work like a dog? Then bring the dog.
Advocates of the fourth annual "Take Your Dog to Work Day" hope everyone will drag Bowser to the office tomorrow to celebrate canines, their calming effect and dogdom in general.
"We've had 6,000 inquiries from businesses around the country," said Ellen Price of North Carolina-based Pet Sitters International, which came up with the idea. "We want to raise awareness about what great companions dogs are and to encourage the dogless to adopt."
Sometimes people just show up for work with a dog; sometimes there are "parades, look-alike contests, stupid dog tricks it can get pretty elaborate," said Mrs. Price, who expects at least four dogs in her office tomorrow.
No event is complete, however, without officially sanctioned merchandise, all emblazoned with a trademarked "TYDTWDay" logo, and available through the organization and retailers.
For $30, there is an Official Doggie Briefcase featuring a plush toy cell phone that jingles, plus water bowl, bandanna, chew ball, lunchtime kibbles, dog biscuit, leash, water bottle, hair accessory and the all-important "poop bag."
There are also T-shirts, balloons, stickers, coffee mugs and posters of Sandy, official 2002 Poster Dog, whose motto is, "Everyone needs a little paws at work."
Do we?
"There is a lot of inventive thinking these days about creating a positive workplace," said Amy Lyman of San Francisco-based A Great Place to Work Institute, a business-management-consulting group.
"There is some psychological proof that dogs can reduce stress, boredom, even blood pressure. But there are big health and safety issues to consider. What about people with allergies to dog hair, or a dog that has the accident on the rug?"
Still, there is also a huge population of childless people, Mrs. Lyman said, who consider their dog to be a furry child or perhaps a best friend and confidante.
"While this kind of thinking can get a little out of hand, this group would look very favorably on a boss who let them bring their dog to the job. They would see it as a real family benefit. It could shake out as a positive thing," she said.
That is the thinking at some companies.
Dogs on the job "are a perfect perk to give our employees," notes California toy maker Klutz in a notice to www.dogfriendly.com, a Web site devoted entirely to dog-friendly work places, hotels and travel agents. Indeed, the site lists 260 employers in America, Canada, England and Israel who mix dogs and desks.
The diverse group includes manufacturers, nursing homes, high-tech firms, film studios, clothiers and real-estate agencies, among others. One Maryland-based data management group notes that company owners bring in three "resident" dogs daily; employee dogs are allowed on Fridays, barring any "dogfights."
Meanwhile, organizers of Take Your Dog to Work Day are not dogged by lack of public or corporate interest. The group's event has the hearty endorsement of local humane and animal-welfare societies throughout the country, as well as the American Kennel Club, which uses the occasion to push its own dog behavior programs.
However, many jurisdictions, including the District, ban bringing a dog into a public building. Service dogs are exempt from the ban.
Corporate sponsors include pet food manufacturer Iams and Loews Hotels, which take their dogs very seriously.
To help owners prepare for tomorrow's big day, the hotel is hosting "Bark Breakfast" fund-raisers in 14 cities this week, featuring a $75 continental breakfast for owner and dog, plus presentations on dog manners, dog CPR, "power chow" for the ambitious dog and "Hounds Around the Cubicle," a fashion show for the sartorially aware canine.
"All the money goes to charity," explained a Loews spokeswoman yesterday. "We had 100 people attend in New York alone, and 50 dogs, which was, believe me; more than enough."

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