There are some things in life that just make me smile—a puppy bounding around the room, the racing feet of a hamster in its wheel, a purring cat that wraps its tail around your leg as it waltzes by, or giving some behind-the-ear scratches to one of our office dogs after a long meeting.

Pet owners have long understood and enjoyed the benefits of companionship and unconditional love they get from their furry friends, and dogs seem to hold a special place in our collective hearts. Remember Old Yeller? How about Marley and Me? From Benji to Beethoven, Lassie to those cute 101 Dalmatians, dogs have proven that they are movie gold. Why do we love dogs? It turns out, that it’s not an intellectual response we have to dogs, but an emotional and sometimes physiological one.

Scientists have long believed that there are real health benefits to having a pet, especially a dog. When we pet a dog, it can instantly make us feel more relaxed. That relaxed feeling comes from the “feel good” hormone oxytocin, the same one released when parents bond with their babies. And studies have proven that pets have calming effects, reduce blood pressure, lower stress, and can make employees more cordial and productive. Check out these incredible stats:

  • The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) found that pet ownership is responsible for saving $11.7 billion yearly.*
  • 8 million pet owners save $11.37 billion on physician office visits, while 20 million owners who walk their pets 5 times a week show lower obesity and save $419 million in healthcare.*

Caring for pets can now be identified as a proactive method for staying healthy, thus saving money on a personal, professional, governmental, and medical scale.* So, it’s no surprise that some companies are encouraging employees to bring their pets into the office to help make life happier, healthier, and more productive for everyone.

With the busy pace of work life, it’s easy to be head-down in a project for hours on end. Dogs remind us to take a break from our work once in a while—to get up, go to the bathroom, grab a drink of water or a snack, stretch, and play. They remind us to take time to interact with each other as they roam the office and interact with us.

I love that I work at a place where people bring their dogs to the office. If you’re thinking of doing it too, here are a few tips:

  1. Get permission. (Don’t sneak your dog into the office and assume it’s OK. If you haven’t seen any dogs, it’s probably not.)
  2. Make sure your dog is calm around other people and, potentially, other dogs. (No one likes a Grumpy Gus.)
  3. Make sure your dog is potty-trained and that you’re available to take him out occasionally. (Need I say more?)
  4. Bring some familiar toys and a dog bed if your Fifi is small. (They’ll be more comfortable and less likely to need your attention, so you can get your work done.)
  5. Bring snacks to keep them entertained and fed. (No one wants last night’s salmon leftovers dug out of the trash by a hungry pooch.)
  6. Respect the boundaries and wishes (and allergies) of others. (Believe it or not, not everyone loves your 100 lb. Hagrid.)

We’re a friendly group, for people and dogs alike. Stop by our office (#contrastdesignworks), and if you’re lucky you might get to meet Mango, Reggie, Charley, Maverick, Archie or Lula! With a treat or a pat, you’ll be fast friends.

The CDW Dogs

The CDW Dogs.