Has Seattle Gone Too Far With Dogs in the Office?

Not surprisingly, one dog-loving expert says no.

By Sheila Mickool

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January 1, 2018

This article originally appeared in the January 2018 issue of Seattle Magazine.

Check out the rest of Seattle’s Best Places to Work from our January issue.

Seattle loves its dogs, and they’re everywhere: in stores, on the bus, hanging out in front of the local coffee shops—and at the office. Remember that classic Star Trek “The Trouble with Tribbles” episode? Every time Spock or Captain Kirk opened a drawer, tribbles came spilling out. 

It’s like that with dogs at the office. But with some offices experiencing an increase in wet-dog smells on rainy days and unexplained spots on the carpet, have we become a little too welcoming to our four-footed friends?

Not surprisingly, Michael Nank, public relations manager at Trupanion, a Seattle-based pet insurance company, doesn’t think so. “Studies have shown that people who work in dog-friendly offices experience reduced levels of stress and increased job satisfaction. On any given day, we have about 150 dogs that join their humans at work,” says Nank.

But even this dog proponent knows that rules are important, because not everyone likes dogs, and some people have health issues—like allergies—that aren’t compatible with dogs. 

The rules at Trupanion, for example, include some basics: Dogs must be housebroken with up-to-date vaccinations. They also require that dogs wear color-coded leashes that let coworkers know if the approaching pet is friendly (green), shy (yellow) or has special needs (red).

“We have a pet program manager who evaluates each pet who comes into the office, makes sure that pet personalities mix well together and that each pet is healthy,” Nank says. The presence of pets works at Trupanion, he says, because the pet policy makes sure the people and pets get along—and the pets are nondisruptive.

If only the Enterprise had had those rules, those tribbles might not have been so much trouble after all.

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