‘Take Your Dog to Work Day’ at Petland June 22

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Forget 401Ks, great health care benefits or even extra vacation time. Employees at the Petland store in Rockford consider the best part of their job to be their co-workers—even if they shed, bark and occasionally have an accident on the floor.

June 22 marks Pets Sitters International’s “Take Your Dog to Work Day,” and the 3,500 employees of Petland worldwide, including those in Rockford, are reaping the benefits every day of having access to dogs, and other pets, while on the job.

“Working side-by-side with pets is one of the many unique employee perks that we offer at Petland,” said Darcy Howen, operator of the Petland store in the North Cherryvale Mall Drive Shopping Center, in Rockford. “We generally have a list of people waiting, wanting to work with our pets. Pets make employees’ workdays more enjoyable. And where else can employees lower their blood pressure every day without medication?”

Howen adds that research, conducted by organizations such as the Delta Society, www.deltasociety.org, shows that having pets in one’s life is healthful.“Watching an aquarium full of fish can aid in lowering blood pressure as can daily caressing of the fur of a cat, dog or small animal,” Howen said. “Children are seeking pets as confidants. Adults want them as stress relievers, and senior citizens are looking for companions that will love them unconditionally.”

According to a 2006 national pet owner’s survey conducted by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, nearly one in five U.S. companies has no bones about allowing pets in the workplace. In fact, a majority of survey participants believe there are both healthful and social benefits to having Fido or Fluffy on staff.

APPMA’s 2006 survey revealed that: 55 million Americans believe that pets in the workplace contribute to a more creative environment. Fifty-three million believe that pets in the workplace decrease absenteeism. Fifty million believe that pets in the workplace help co-workers foster better relationships. Thirty-eight million believe that pets in the workplace create a more productive work environment. 46 million people, who bring pets to their workplace, actually say they work longer hours.

“Studies of the human-animal bond, like those conducted by the Delta Society, show that pets enhance our lives in many healthful ways,” said Howen. “At Petland, our employees reap the positive health benefits of interacting with the pets. Not only is it therapeutic for the employees, it also is a wonderful form of socialization for the animals in our store.”

from the June 20-26, 2007, issue

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