Do you hate having to leave your pooch at home when you're at the office? This Friday, thousands of employees around the country won't need to -- their workplaces will be participating in Take Your Dog to Work Day. The observance was started six years ago by Pet Sitters International (PSI) as a way to inspire people to adopt shelter animals. "We hope that by watching their co-workers interact with their pets, people will be encouraged to adopt one of their own," says PSI spokeswoman Sheila Smith. Last year, she adds, around 5,000 businesses across the country participated. Of course, as with any event, canine fetes take lots of work. Follow these tips to make yours a success.
1Take a head count
Send an e-mail a few
days before the event, confirming the number of pups attending -- you don't want 20 showing up when you were expecting eight. Remind co-workers that their pets should be well groomed, spayed or
neutered, and well behaved around strangers, says Charlotte Reed,
author of the "Miss Fido Manners" column for Fido Friendly Magazine, a travel magazine for dogs. "After all," she says, "not everyone loves dogs. Some people will be doing work that day."
The pooches -- and
their owners -- need
to know that it's not okay to use the conference room as a dog run. Smith
recommends deciding on off-
limits areas beforehand and
putting up baby gates to block them. At the beginning of the
day, have the owners introduce their dogs to the other furry
guests and let them feel out the
situation. If they start acting up, separate them, says Bruce Van Horn, author of "Home Alone: Tools to Help Pets Overcome Separation Anxiety" ($9.99, www.petguru.com).
Since the goal behind Take Your Dog to
Work Day is to get people to adopt, call your local shelter and ask if they can bring by a
couple of dogs that need homes. (For shelters and rescue groups in the D.C. metro area, try www.metropets.org.) Maybe one of
your co-workers will go home with a new friend.
Have a dog-and-owner look-alike contest in which your co-workers vote on the winner, or host a doggy fashion show with pets modeling their latest gear.
At McKinley Marketing Partners, in Old Town Alexandria, Chief Executive Michelle Boggs is
hosting a happy hour for her
co-workers and their pets, complete with servings of Frosty
Paws, a soy-based ice cream bar for dogs. (Check the freezer
section of your local supermarket or call 800-225-3636.) Document the day with a Polaroid camera and talk with your boss to find
out whether the company can spring for doggy bags filled with bones or cute collars. On their
way out, give each guest a goody bag filled with a picture and some treats.
for next year
Now that you're a pro, you'll know which activities worked and which really didn't. For more ideas -- or if your company didn't participate this year but you'd like to make a pitch for next -- log on to PSI's Web site at www.petsit.com. It has a downloadable Action Pack that's loaded with tips and activities for a successful day.
Need some pet info? Drop a line to email@example.com. Include your name, city and phone number.