Obviously, I’m a huge dog person. Dogs have always played an important role in my life. I’ve always been drawn to animals as I felt safe and filled with positivity just being around them. I’ve been lucky to have very supporting parents who allowed and helped me get my own dog at a young age. She was a beautiful Siberian Husky and I practically grew up with her.
Growing up with a dog taught me how to be responsible and care for another being, but more importantly, she took care of me by being my best friend, during times when I had trouble connecting with other kids of my age. She was my adventure buddy and emotional support during those tough growing up years.
Almost two decades later, long after she had already passed, and I had grown up, I ended up moving abroad to start my own company, and even though my life was incredibly busy and hectic I still found dogs to be an important and necessary part of my life.
After having borrowed my sister’s Lakeland Terrier called Bella every once in a while, 2 years ago, I finally decided it was time to adopt a pup of my own.
A New Pooch in The Office
This plunge into a new adventure is part of a longer story regarding a particularly transformative period of my life. The important part of the decision, however, happened after coming back from a month long trip to China... I just couldn’t bear walking into an empty apartment anymore. I got home from the airport, took a shower and called a friend from work who had recently found a pregnant Pekingese bitch and had been persuading me to adopt the pup for a while, at that point. I brought it home that same evening.
The reason why I didn’t immediately give in to the idea of having a dog of my own as a young professional is the same as with most people. It’s not very practical when you’re busy working, traveling & building a life for yourself. But in the end I’m so glad I did because Punči (Poonchie), a little ewok/gremlin mix looking pooch is the best thing that could’ve happened to me. And subsequently to my company…
Behind the Post
At the time when I’d decided to get a dog, I’d just split up with my long term boyfriend whom I’d been living with for 4 years, and had moved out on my own. I was 27 at the time and this was an immense emotional shock for me. Due to being away from family and friends and with additional pressure and stress from work during this transitional period, the change was overwhelming and it left me struggling to cope.
Anxiety attacks and nervous breakdowns became part of my daily battle to get out of my apartment and get to work. It was draining for me, people close to me, and for my company. During that period, I worked and traveled a lot for business and it was hard for me to hold on to a constant that would help me stabilize. I didn’t just let go either, I was working a lot on my lifestyle, developing a daily routine that kept me calm and focused... but when you work so much, you end up alone a lot as well and that emptiness can’t be healed by eating more veggies.
I know that animals are not a substitute for having a social life and I’m definitely not one of those that call themselves a dog “parent”. However, dogs can be an important part of our mental health support system. It’s been proven that animals can have a therapeutic effect on humans and help reduce stress. Apart from what I’d read about it, I’ve also personally seen countless examples of people becoming happier and more relaxed.
Pet Friendly Work Environment Benefits
I believe that the modern work environment is becoming more and more humane. Both smaller and larger companies know that their most valuable asset are their people. So it’s crucial that our work enables us to achieve our professional goals while also allowing us to thrive as humans. A part of that is giving employees support to spend time on their hobbies, with their families and pets.
Even though not everyone wants to have a pet at home, most people enjoy interacting with them. Contrary to common belief that interacting with pets at work is a distraction, at Bellabeat we believe that it’s a benefit. A health benefit. And since we’re all about health, we welcome and support it.
The most obvious benefits of a pet friendly work environment are for the owners of pets. A pet friendly work environment helps pet owners focus on work and allows them to stay longer when needed without them having to constantly worry about their pooch. People who bring pets to work also tend to be more positive, confident and relaxed as they practically have their best buddy around them all the time. It gives them that emotional support that makes work in any situation less stressful.
Besides stress reduction, dogs also keep us active. Dogs, just like Leaf or Time are great to remind you (or force you) to take short active breaks throughout the day. Getting some steps and air in is something that will get your blood flowing and your brain working properly which is highly recommended, especially when our jobs become more and more sedentary.
The benefits extend to other people in the team too. In our experience, dogs at work create a friendlier, more relaxed environment for everybody and promote team bonding and communication. Play time with the pups is something we all like to join in and having a good laugh is the ultimate “chill pill”.
Code of Conduct For Pets?
Of course, as any new form of work environment, a pet friendly office space takes some active work and defined rules. Whenever bringing a pet into a public space, especially a work space where people need to focus and be productive, we as owners need to be respectful towards others and in control of our furry friends.
However, in return for a little work and effort, dogs can be a great way of motivating and retaining talent. As well as an incredible help in creating a friendly, tolerant and healthy work environment where people feel at ease.
Urska, Cofounder & CCO @ Bellabeat