an Australian Labradoodle, sits with owner CEO
Gary Chiappetta while he conducts a meeting with
employee Chris Ertel at Kaleidoscope in Chicago on
Tuesday, May 12, 2015.
— Take Your Dog To Work Day isn’t until June 26.
an 8-year-old schnoodle, looks at the calendar and
comes to work one or two times a week at Kaleidoscope, a
company that assists brand owners through consulting,
strategic design and prototyping, in Chicago.
this particular afternoon, she is walking the aisles
near the workspace of her person, Dawn Brigando.
come in and she’s on her own," says Brigando, a
production artist. "I never worry. She knows who
she gets treats from, and she’s free to go where she
who has been coming to the office since she was about 4
months old, is part of the culture at Kaleidoscope,
which has an open doggy door policy. Employees are
encouraged to bring their canines to work, and eight or
10 of them do regularly. There’s usually a dog (or
dogs) in the office three or four days a week.
idea of pets in the office isn’t new. But it got a
boost when Pet Sitters International launched Take Your
Dog To Work Day 17 (people) years ago, and things have
snowballed. According to the American Pet Products
Association, 20 percent of U.S. companies now have
adopted pet-friendly policies.
don’t know the origin of this. I do know it’s a
growing trend," says Steve Feldman, executive
director of the Human-Animal Bond Research Initiative
Foundation, a nonprofit research and education
organization based in Washington D.C. that gathers,
funds and shares research on the positive health impact
of animals on people.
magazine, which is known for its annual list of best
places to work, now also puts out a list of the most
pet-friendly companies," Feldman says.
dogs in the office is nice," says Kaleidoscope CEO
Gary Chiappetta. "It calms things down, makes
next to his desk is Olive, his 3-year-old Australian
have a wonderful effect on people," Feldman agrees.
"They reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and they
increase social interaction, in and out of the
Kaleidoscope, the rules are unwritten. Actually, there
really aren’t any.
are very respectful (of co-workers) and want to keep
this up," Chiappetta says. "Only one time did
we have somebody’s dog that was a distraction. You
tell them, ‘If the dog needs that much attention ...’"
some businesses, animals aren’t so much invited as
they are interlopers.
Sharprint, a Chicago apparel printing and embroidery
company, a young orange cat wandered into the building
through an open door one night in November 2013. An
employee coming to work the next morning found her sound
asleep on a pile of T-shirts. She was dubbed Molly at
first, but employees soon started calling her Margaret
Schroeder, after the character from "Boardwalk
Empire," and she became the company’s house cat.
Or a member of the staff, depending on your outlook.
caught a mouse once, so she at least earned her
keep," says Zach Corn, Sharprint’s head of sales.
says Margaret — or Schroeder, she doesn’t have a
preference — spends most of her time lounging.
a stress reliever," Corn says.
course, having dogs or cats as daily visitors to the
office isn’t practical for all companies.
Goldberg, digital marketing specialist for the Humane
Society of Broward County in Florida, came up with an
alternative, the Snuggle Delivery.
$150, HSBC volunteers will bring puppies, kittens, dogs
or cats to your office for an hour of playtime.
Employees get a treat, homeless animals get needed
socialization, the shelters raise money and get the word
out about their mission — and when things click, there
got the idea from a Texas group that brought kittens to
a workplace. "I said we could totally do this. ...
We had no idea it would be so successful."
the first two months, there were four adoption events
and another dozen are on the schedule. Eight puppies
found homes in those first four events. In addition, the
group raised more than $2,700.
fee is only $150. People are donating above and beyond,
and in addition are donating items off our wish
list," Goldberg says.
program got off the ground about three months ago.
we first did it, right before tax time, the people who
jumped on it were accounting firms," Goldberg says.
"They were very excited because they were very
a good trend," Feldman says. "It makes us
happier, healthier and makes us more satisfied with our
17th Take Your Dog To Work Day is June 26. Pet Sitters
International, which created the event, invites
businesses to download its free Action Pack planning
guide on its website: