Pets are a huge part of our lives. The most recent statistics report that 68% of US households include at least one pet. That adds up to 90 million dogs and 94 million cats in the US alone, and the majority of pet owners reportedly view their pets as family members. Millennials are even more obsessed with their pets, with 44% of them treating their pets as if they are their first born children. We love our pets and want to include them in our lives, even taking them to work if possible. Recently this has become more and more likely as workplaces are allowing employees to bring dogs to work with them. Before discussing the benefits and challenges of bringing dogs to work, service animals are in an entirely different category that I’d like to touch on.
Everyone knows what a service animal is. We see them working with their handlers and know they are allowed to accompany their owner to restaurants, shops, hotels, and other places where pets may not regularly be allowed. Here is some additional information I found through exploring ADA.gov
According to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work to perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability. For example, a service dog can be trained to detect the onset of a seizure and then help the person remain safe during the seizure. A person with diabetes may have a service dog trained to alert them if their blood sugar reaches dangerously high or low levels. A person with depression may have a service dog that is trained to remind them to take their medication.
So far so good, but did you know the ADA does NOT require service animals be trained by a professional service dog program? Individuals with disabilities have the right to train a service animal on their own. Additionally, business owners and staff are only allowed to ask two specific questions about a service animal. The first being, “is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?”, and the second “what work or task has the dog been trained to perform?”. Furthermore, you are not allowed to ask the owner for documentation, ask to see the dog perform a task, or further inquire about a person’s disability. Contrary to popular belief, a service animal does not need to be registered and is not required to wear a special vest, ID tag, or harness identifying them as a service animal. The dog must only be fully trained and capable of performing a specific task in order to be protected by the ADA in public places.
The only exception to this is if the dog is being disruptive and the handler does not take effective action to control the animal, then they may be asked to be removed from the premises. Additionally, hotels are not allowed to charge an extra cleaning fee to accept a service animal and guests with disabilities must be given the same opportunity to reserve any hotel room (not pet-friendly designated rooms, etc.).
EMOTIONAL SUPPORT ANIMALS
Emotional support animals help aid with an emotional or mental disability and must be prescribed by a doctor. Emotional support animals differ in that they do not need to be trained to perform a specific task to assist a person with a disability, but their mere presence provides comfort. There is a distinction between a psychiatric service animal verses an emotional support animal. In the example above, the dog trained to remind a person with depression to take their medication would be a psychiatric service animal, not an emotional support animal. Emotional support animals are typically labeled as such so the owner is able to rent housing that is not pet-friendly or travel with their animal. Under Federal Fair Housing laws, emotional support animals must have access to apartments with a no-pet policy and are exempt from pet-related fees.
While there is some controversy surrounding emotional support animals, and some even pushing to eradicate them, it is important for owners of ESA animals to know their rights. For example, a landlord may request access to your medical records or ask questions about your medical history. Simply submit your ESA letter from a licensed therapist. Additionally, emotional support animals cannot be denied due to their age. Additionally, emotional support animals are allowed to accompany you in the cabin during flights. However, it is important to check with each airlines policy to avoid any issues.
VISITATION ANIMALS, RESIDENT ANIMALS, AND THERAPY DOGS
Visitation animals are animals (typically dogs) that spend several hours per day or week at a specific setting. They usually accompany their owners and visit healthcare settings such as psychiatric units, pediatric hospitals, and nursing homes. A resident animal may live in a facility full-time or accompany an employee to work daily. Therapy dogs assist a professional service provider in the treatment or rehabilitation of a patient or client. Often these dogs accompany occupational therapists, psychotherapists, physical therapists, or other professionals.
PETS IN THE WORKPLACE
Service animals, emotional support animals, and even “civilian pets” are becoming increasingly common in the workplace. Several studies have been conducted that highlight the benefits of bringing our pets to work. Prominent companies such as Amazon and Google now have dog friendly policies and allow employees to bring their dogs to work with them daily. Of course, not everyone likes animals, or dogs particularly. Issues will inevitably arise when a business decides to move forward with a pet-friendly policy, and the decision to accept dogs in the workplace should not be taken lightly. Some considerations include health, safety, well-being of other employees, legal and cultural sensitivities, and animal welfare.
Two noteworthy studies have explored the effects of dogs in the workplace on stress and well-being. All employees were given a perceived stress survey multiple times throughout the work day. This study found that employees who did not bring their dogs to work had significantly higher perceived stress than employees who did. Employees who brought their dogs to work were instructed to leave their dogs at home two days a week, and on these days their perceived stress increased throughout the day, matching the pattern of those employees who did not bring dogs to work.
Another unexpected benefit of bringing dogs to work is that there may be a positive effect on social interactions among employees. Pets enhance the social atmosphere at work increasing the frequency of conversations among co-workers. You may have experienced this first hand when out and about with your pet; strangers start conversations and smile at you more when you are accompanied by your pets. This is backed by scientific evidence: several studies have shown that when an individual is accompanied by a dog, the frequency of social encounters with strangers increases.
Despite all of the pros of bringing your pets to work, there will always be some cons. Allergies are one of them. Approximately 15-30% of people with allergies have allergic reactions to dog and cats. While these reactions vary in intensity, common symptoms include trouble breathing, swelling and itching of the membranes lining eyes and nose, and rashes on the skin. Employers must be aware of how allowing dogs in the workplace could effect other employees with allergies, whether that means providing personal protective equipment or having “dog-free” areas. In addition there is an increased risk of tripping and falling when there are dogs running around freely or leaving toys on the ground. These risks can be combatted by having rules in place such as limiting leash length, placing dog bowls and toys in designated areas, and keeping dogs away from frequently trafficked hallways. There is also the inherent risk of dog bites; one of the most serious concerns that arise when establishing a dog-friendly workplace. The good news is that only 17-18% of dog bites require medical attention, and the individual dogs most likely to be present in a work place should have been extensively evaluated for calm, non-aggressive temperaments. Additional concerns include fear and phobias, cultural sensitivities, and welfare concerns.
While we personally love our pets, we understand not everyone will. Our goal is to make every single person who walks through our doors feel comfortable and welcome. We currently allow our patrons to bring their well behaved dogs as long as they are kept on a leash and under the owners control at all times. Disruptive dogs (barking, hyperactivity, jumping on furniture or customers, etc.) will be asked to leave. We appreciate all of our customers for being responsible when bringing their pets to Pause… we love all of our puppy patrons!
Pause… currently offers:
Several different yoga classes: Vinyasa, Yin, and AcroYoga
Spray Tanning: Original and Rapid ORGANIC and Vegan Spray Tans
Reiki Circles: Several per month; Restorative and Regular
Sofa Sessions: A chill open mic experience, every Thursday at 8:30pm
Football: Sunday and Monday night Football viewing
Juice Bar of the Future: Purium’s organic juices: MVP Sport Protein, Green Power Shake, Coco Hydrate, Can’t Beet This, & Aloe Digest
Botanical Tea on Tap: Rotating flavors and varieties
Kava brewery: Seasonal flavors available
Organic Herbal Teas: Earl Grey Tea, Yerba Mate, Turmeric Chai, Moon Ease, Mint Chocolate Mate, Holy Basil Chai, Tropical Guayusa, Hibiscus High, 5th Chakra, “LOVE”, Classic Chai, and Chamomile
Flowering Herbal Teas: (Served in a pot only) Dawn’s Delight Flowering Tea and Evening Star Flowering Tea
Specialty Coffee Drinks: Bulletproof coffee, regular coffee, espresso, lattes, cappuccino, cold brew, dairy-free options
Lite Bites: BLT Sandwich on a croissant with pickle and chips, Chicken Salad Sandwich on a croissant with pickle and chips. Vegan Options: Vegan Pizza (cheese and Buffalo Ranch), Hummus Plate, and muffins
Drink Boosts: extract, CBD, Damiana, Echinacea, and more
Unique retail items: (jewelry, clothes, etc).