Off the Leash Off the Leash

Top Pet-Friendly Corporations Across America

By Vetstreet May 18, 2012 11:20PM
Photo: Dogs at CLIF Bar & Co., courtesy of Vetstreetby Nora Zelevansky, Vetstreet.com

In the average workplace, employers try to boost morale by offering casual Fridays, sweet performance rewards and even four-day weeks.
Another proven strategy: letting employees bring their pets to the office.
In a 2010 study conducted at Central Michigan University, volunteers were 30 percent less likely to snitch on a co-worker with a dog around, suggesting that a canine’s mere presence improves collaborations and increases productivity.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, 17 percent of employers have already caught on to the idea and allow pets in the workplace. Here are seven of those companies that take being animal-friendly to the next level:
CLIF Bar & Company
Outdoorsy types swear by CLIF Bar & Company, an organic energy and nutrition snack company known for energy bars made from brown rice, flaxseed and dried fruits. Since the company is heavily focused on environmentalism and spending time outside, it’s not surprising that many staff members have dogs who hike and run with them. Luckily, those pups can join their owners at work, a policy that sprang organically from the company’s culture. (They even negotiated a group vet insurance deal.) On a busy day, there might be as many as 20 dogs running around the 260-person Emeryville, Calif., office, which means lunch breaks are filled with walks to the nearby park and fetch sessions in the auditorium.
It’s truly a jungle at the Amazon offices. At the company’s Seattle hub in South Lake Union alone, there are more than 300 dogs onsite, ranging from Siberian Huskies to Chihuahuas. It's pup heaven at this company, with dog biscuits stocked at reception desks, water fountains in outdoor plaza areas and nearby off-leash dog parks. This policy is nothing new for the company: Images of Amazon's first dog, a Corgi named Rufus, were regularly featured on the website in the early days. And Rufus' legacy lives on — his name is emblazoned across office door handles.

Photo: Dogs at Bissell, courtesy of VetstreetBissell may be known for vacuums and supplies that help clean up after pets, but it's also seriously committed to animal causes. In October 2011, they founded the Bissell Pet Foundation to promote pet adoption and animal welfare through spay/neuter programs, microchipping and foster care, with the goal of awarding more than $250,000 in grants annually. This love of pets starts at the top: CEO Mark Bissell and his wife, Cathy, are pet parents to three black Labs, and 72 percent of their employees are pet owners. Not only are workers encouraged to bring their furry friends to the office, but the company actually constructed an animal-friendly space called The Bissell Pet Spot, complete with indoor kennels, a bathing station and outdoor play area.

Kimpton Hotels
If the hosPETality program at Kimpton Hotels is any indicator, the company acknowledges the importance of having pets at your side. The general manager of each hotel determines whether or not employees can bring their beloved canines to work, but everyone is offered reduced-rate pet health insurance. And some lucky staff member pets are actually part of a Director of Pet Relations program, in which furry friends serve as ambassadors to critter-loving guests. For example, Timmy at Monaco Portland belongs to the concierge, and “Diva of Pet Relations” Georgie belongs to the GM at Hotel Vintage Plaza.
If you want to learn more about pet-friendly offices, Google them! The world’s most popular search engine and web portal has long been known for its relatively flexible workplace vibe, especially when it comes to critters. In fact, animals are so beloved here that the cafe at Google’s Mountain View campus is named for a former employee's Leonberger, Yoshka. Satellite offices around the country have free rein to make their own dog policies, but at the Seattle location, there are dedicated spaces for pups equipped with cushy pillows, water bowls and plenty of toys.
Ben & Jerry's
Even Ben & Jerry’s companywide voicemail message references “the human you’re trying to reach” and laments that “office dogs” don’t get their own phones to answer. Four-legged employees are walked along an adjacent pond, and baggies are provided for cleanup. At regular cookouts in the summer, there are even carnival-type events organized for dogs, with toys and treats offered in place of ice cream.
P & G Pet Care
If you produce pet products, it would make sense that you’d be sensitive to your animal-owning employees. The folks at P & G Pet Care (the company behind IAMS) put their best paw forward, encouraging employees to bring “four-legged family members” into the office. At their Mason campus, the corporation built a dog park and a special canine entrance. As a result, the senior-level management has noticed increased productivity and joy, thanks to desk-side nuzzles from sweet dogs — a benefit that's priceless.

More from Vetstreet.com

May 20, 2012 2:23AM
i wish i had that in my work place here in grenada west indies
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