Thursday, June 22, 2017

Take Your Dog to Work Day

When I first heard Ben and Jerry’s allows employees to bring their dogs to work every day, I couldn’t help but think of Duke the Dairy Delight Dog.  Darla, owner of Darla’s Dairy Delight, Home of the Famous Vanilla-Chocolate Swirl, is appalled when Duke, a mangy, smelly, homeless dog decides he has found his home in her place of business.  Darla prides herself on keeping an ice cream shop that is so clean you could eat off the floor, so you can imagine her outrage when Duke moves right on in.  It is not until an unfortunate mishap with a cleaning machine turns his coat into vanilla-chocolate swirls that Darla comes to her senses and sees Duke for what he really is:  A sweet and loving pup, looking for his place in the world.  Instead of hurting her business, Duke ends up helping, by drawing people “from miles around to see his spectacular hairdo, and eat Darla’s tasty Vanilla-Chocolate swirls.”

Knowing Duke’s story, I was happy to learn that it is actually Ben and Jerry’s corporate offices that allow dogs.  Describing what interviewees might see when they visit the company. Sean Greenwood, public relations spokesperson says, “Momo is there, Jack is in R&D, Allison’s in retail, Scout is brand new.  They’re just like your co-workers.”  Having man’s best friend accompany you at your workplace certainly has its benefits.

A 2016 survey of pet-friendly workplace benefits include reduced stress, improved workplace relationships, greater work-life balance, increased productivity, and decreased guilt over leaving pets at home.  That’s why Pet Sitters International created Take Your Dog to Work Day in 1999.  PSI wanted to encourage businesses to allow dogs to accompany their owners in the workplace one Friday a year.  Their goal was to help dog-less employees see what great companions dogs make and motivate them to consider adopting one of their own after observing the great bond between dog owners and their precious pups. Take Your Dog to Work Day has been embraced by well-known businesses, celebrities, and yes, even the President of the United States.  In 2013, President Barack Obama tweeted, “Don’t you wish every day was take your dog to work day?”   Today, many businesses have declared just that.  Take Google, Etsy, and of course, Ben and Jerry’s for starters.  

The trend of taking your dog to work has stuck.  The year the day was created, an estimated 300 businesses participated.  Since then, the numbers have only grown.  Although PSI cannot track the day’s participation rate since companies are not required to register to take part in the day, their tracking tools show involvement goes up each year, as indicated by the thousands of visitors who explore each year.

Ready to let Fido accompany you at your workplace?  Try it Friday, June 23rd and see how your productivity and mood improve.  But first, brush up on some etiquette to help make this day successful.

W ater your sidekick.  Make sure you have plenty of water and treats available for your dog.  Well-meaning co-workers may be tempted to share their lunch leftovers, so having treats at the ready can help your dog avoid an upset tummy.

O bserve co-worker’s allergies and aversions.  Not everyone is a dog-lover, so you may want to keep your dog on a leash so that he doesn’t bother others.

R eel him in.   Keeping your dog close to you can help him stay away from potential dangers, such as chemicals and dangerous foods.  Read our post, Preventing Accidental Pet Poisoning for tips on avoiding common dangers.

K eep in tune with your dog.  Take your dog on regular potty breaks/quick walks, make sure he has a comfy spot to crash, and above all, have fun!

This post first appeared on PetPartners website, Take Your Dog to Work Day.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Boredom Isn't Such a Bad Thing

It was after my mom sent a text of a page in her Better Homes and Gardens that I felt the conviction.  I had to make a change.  And it had to be now.

I held out my hand to collect their phones and their ipods.  They looked at me like I had two heads.  "What about yours?" they asked?  Mine too.  Especially mine.

"But what if you receive an important call?"  Ahhh, the beauty of technology.  Even that one was covered.  I have handsfree capabilities.  Even with my phone in the way back of the car, I can receive and make calls through the bluetooth in my phone.  And guess what?  If there is a true emergency and I need to talk to someone about something important, it might just be better if I pull off the road to make or receive that call anyway.

And then we had this conversation.

Me (to the almost teenager in the passenger seat): I am feeling like I need to make a change.  If my phone is right here at the ready, I am much more tempted to check a text that comes through, look at Facebook while waiting at a light, or even see what podcasts have come available.  It is not safe for me to be doing that.  The other day I had to slam on brakes because I was looking at my phone and I didn't notice the car in front of me had stopped.  And think of all I am missing while busying myself on my phone.  When I am in my car, I should be looking around, noticing the changing seasons, the way our little town is adapting to meet the population growth in our area, and enjoying the scenery.  I choose right now, this moment, to become better about not looking at my phone.  And if that means putting it out of my own reach, that's what I will do.

My almost teenager: But I'm bored.  What can I do while we are driving?

Oh, the answers I could have come up with.  But my mind steered me straight back to the text message from my mom.

Me: How about looking around?  In a few short years, you'll be the one behind this steering wheel.  You'll be driving to school, making Target runs, picking up your little brother from school. (YIKES!)  Will you know the way?  If you are constantly looking down at your phone, will you know how to get to Target???  And, let me tell you how bored you will be, or worse, how broken you will be if you hurt yourself or someone else because you are looking down at your phone when you are driving your little brother home from school. 

Silence in the car.

Jonah: You're right.  I understand.

Best four words a mama can hear.  And one of the best conversations we've ever had.  I know I need to be the role model in the driver's seat.  It may change the trajectory of my life.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A House That Finally Feels Like Home

The bowls of popcorn shared.

Each baby coming home to meet her.

Swims and walks at the park.

Four-legged birthday parties.

Endless kisses and snuggles.  

These are the memories of our sweet Summer we hold close to our hearts.