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Eric Shackle Writes: Some Americans Dote On Dogs - Others Don't

Take Your Dog to Work Day divided dog laters and dog haters in the USA, as Eric Shackle reports.

For guaranteed entertainment click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/eric_shackle_writes/ to read more of Eric's columns.

Thousands of American doglovers happily celebrated the 11th annual Take Your
Dog to Work Day on June 26. But thousands of doghaters shuddered at the
thought of sharing their workplaces with pampered pooches, which they feared
might lick their faces, sully their carpets or give them rabies.

In California, Esser Vineyards,
http://www.takeyourdog.com/News/ID12/Take-Your-Dog-To-Dinner-Night run by
two generations of doglovers, launched a Take Your Dog to Dinner Night.
They compiled a list of "dog-friendly" restaurants from Calofornia to New
York where any guest taking a dog was to receive a free bottle of the
sponsor's wine plus a free feed for the pooch. Part of the proceeds was to
go to local animal shelters or rescue operations.

"Doggone good idea," James Oliver Cury, executive editor of Epicurious.com
commented drily, promising to take his pug Chloe to the launch. "If you
can't lick 'em, join 'em".

But Bevin Theodore, a Web editor for The Express-Times in Easton,
Pennsylvania wasn't sold on the idea. "I am an animal lover, but I'm forced
to admit my dog Duke, a Labrador mix, would be a total spazz in the
workplace," she said. "He'd undoubtedly bark at a few editors, freak out at
the police scanner and tear his way through the newsroom, leaving
destruction in his wake. Oh, and anyone who left lunch on a desk and stepped
away for a moment would come back to a missing sandwich and a smiling dog."

Bevin's story was headed "It's Take Your Dog To Work Day, but clear in with
your boss first."
She wrote:

Of course, before you strap a leash on Fido and pack a baggie of Milkbones,
you should run your plan past the boss first in case you do not work in an
office conducive to animals. While we may be a pack of newshounds here at
the Express-Times, I'm not sure dogs would fit into our newsroom too well.
I'm reminded of a couple of canines that visited once to be photographed for
a story on a dog show. They stank to high heaven, resulting in a disruptive
work environment rather than a more productive and stress-free one.

Sure it sounds adorable to have little bundles of fur tearing through the
workplace, encouraging employees to interact with each other, play with the
pooches and add a little levity to day-to-day activities. But what about
the person who shows up with the snarling beast who attacks a few co-workers
or a yappy little rat-dog whose piercing bark annoys everyone all day? Of
course there also is the consideration that some people are allergic to
man's best friend. And what about cats. shouldn't they get shown a little
love too?

In Chicago, Sari Mintz, president of ForYourParty.com, which manufactures
and sells party accessories, invited her 35 employees to take their dogs to
work on the great day. "Having dogs at work is fun, and it does boost
employees' morale," she told Celeste Busk, of the Sun-Times.

"It's also good for the employees to know the bosses allow a little fun in
the workplace. The whole idea of having dogs at work is to make people

Mintz allows one of her employees to take her dog -- Jackson, a Jack Russell
Terrier mix -- to work every day. "He's great to have around and makes his
rounds to say "Hi!" to everyone in the office each day," Mintz said. "We're
working on allowing other employees to bring their dogs every day, too."

In New York, Amy Sacks wrote in the Daily News

"Ask any dog-loving New Yorker to describe his ideal work mate and you might
be surprised to find he prefers one who has bad breath, sleeps on the job
and demands frequent public displays of affection -- to you."

She reported that Manhattan hair stylist Deana Stroud's
10-year-old Shi Tzu, Charlie, had marked the day by sharing his toys with happy clients.

Back in California, in The Riverside Press Enterprise
http://blogs.pe.com/business/2009/06/no-briefcase-for-fido.html Leslie
Berkman wrote:

Employees are sure to pick a bone or two about the prudence of turning a
workplace into a dog park. "There has to be a reason dogs are not allowed
in most offices and I think it is pretty obvious," said Rick Bishop,
executive director in charge of a 20-person staff at the Western Riverside
Council of Governments. One of his concerns was "bathroom etiquette," as he
put it. Another was the welfare of his employees. "I don't think the
employees around here hear another person barking at them," he said,
specifically asking that I include that observation.

Besides, Bishop said, his dog, a shepherd mix, is much more productive at
home than she would be at the office. "She does a great job at chasing
squirrels, birds and airplanes that fly overhead," he said.


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