I got in the habit of bringing Iris to work in February when I was working late every night on a project that basically involved a lot of walking around Boston taking photographs. Iris was more than happy to be my walking partner, although there were more than a few nights when we both staggered back to the car exhausted. That project is finally over. As much as I like the city, February isn't really the best month to be walking around Boston at night. The red dog took it all in stride and at the very end of the project, I did manage to get her in one pano.
Since she's been such a help around the office, I've just continued bringing her with me a couple times a week (ok, sometimes more than a couple times a week).
She's likes to help with testing lenses.
(click on photo for larger view)
The other day, I left my desk for a few minutes and she hopped in my chair to help with some QA (I suspect she got some help from the guys).
Mostly, she's pretty content to hanging out under my desk acting as the resident foot warmer.
Since today is "Bring Your Dog to Work Day," I thought we'd share a few tips that work well for us.
- This probably goes without saying, but make sure all of your coworkers are comfortable around dogs (and not allergic to them) before you bring you dog with you. I'm very lucky to be at a place where everyone loves dogs. Iris isn't the only dog who comes to work on a regular basis!
- Dog proof your workspace. We learned this the hard way after Iris sat on the surge protector under my desk and turned off my computer... and the two other computers that are daisy-chained into my power strip. Maybe more important than dog-proofing is making sure your coworkers have a sense of humor. Other things to watch out for besides electrical cords are poisonous plants and toxic office supplies such as permanent markers.
- Make sure your dog has a comfortable place to hang out. Iris loves hanging out under the computer desk at home, so it was easy to train her to hang out under my desk at work. If this isn't something your dog does naturally, it's something you might want to train beforehand. Most people who come into the office don't even notice there's a dog under my desk. Some alternatives would be training your dog to hang out on a mat, a bed, or in a crate. We also love frozen kongs and bullysticks for keeping Iris busy.
- Don't give your dog unsupervised run of the office. I keep Iris tied to my chair so she doesn't wander off. Even if it seems like all of your coworkers are okay with you dog wandering around, you should still keep a close eye on your dog. Just because your cubicle is dog-proof doesn't mean your coworker's is (or that your coworkers even know what "dog proof" means)!
- I keep a jar of treats on my desk for people to give Iris. Dog lovers are going to want to feed your dog. Since Iris is on a strict diet for her seizures, having a jar of "safe" treats is a good compromise. Also, having appropriate treats (and appropriate sized treats!) will keep you dog from looking like a beach-ball.
- Teach your dog to drink out of a cup. I know I should bring a bowl, but sometimes I forget. In a pinch, Iris will happily drink out of a paper cup so my forgetfulness doesn't really matter.
- Teach a down-stay. When I leave the room to use the kitchen or bathroom (my office shares a bathroom and kitchen with two other companies, so I do not bring Iris into the shared space), I put Iris in a down stay. Since she's tied to the desk, she will fidget and whine if I just walk away. If I put her in a down-stay, she'll hold the stay quietly. I think she feels more secure if she knows exactly what to do.
- Get your dog out for a walk at lunch time. Tired dogs are quiet dogs! Also, make sure that your dog potties in an appropriate place (the garden next to the door is probably not appropriate) and that you ALWAYS clean up after your dog.