Against office dogs

Working from home can be a lonely gig for social butterflies like me. I crave human interaction and enjoy a bit of banter during the day. Co-working spaces offer a great alternative, even for a few days a week. They’re a dime a dozen where I live, with new offices popping up every few months. I eagerly check the listings and am wowed by hip-looking interiors covered in plants, complete with slick handmade desks and beer on tap. I’m spoiled for choice. I want to try all of them.

That is, until I get to the image of the office dog, and I have to move that co-working space into the “no” pile.

Office dogs have become a growing trend. Big tech companies like Google and Amazon have “dog-friendly” policies, and this ideology seems to have trickled down into hundreds of workspaces across the globe. Back in 2016, the Society of Human Resource Management put the number of employers allowing pets in the workplace at 7 percent and rising.

To this, I say: No more.

When I’m working, I don’t want a dog anywhere near me. In fact, I prefer to not be around dogs at all. If I see one on the sidewalk coming my way, I make a beeline for the other side of the street to avoid any interaction whatsoever. This reaction is rooted in my childhood: An unfortunate incident with an Irish Wolfhound when I was about 7 years old left me with a slight dog phobia. When I was 10 I spent an entire afternoon on top of a kitchen table because a family friend’s Jack Russell puppy wouldn’t stop yelping at me. I have since desensitized myself somewhat, but if I have a choice between spending time with a dog and not, I’ll always choose the latter.

Fear is not the only — or even the biggest — reason I don’t want to share my workspace with a dog. I’m also incredibly allergic to them. Dogs and cats. Both of those small creatures can turn me into a wheezing, sniffling mess in a matter of hours.

So when I see a job advertised as being “pet-friendly” or “dog-friendly,” I want to scream: “What about humans?! Offices are for people, not pets!”

I know I’m not the only person to feel this way. The problem is, most people who don’t want dogs in the office are afraid to voice their objections. They’re scared of being labeled a dog-hater or of being ostracized by coworkers. And unfortunately, they may have some good reason to be fearful. In some companies, people are segregated from the rest of the team if they voice their trepidations about dogs.

Read the rest of the article over at The Week

Author: Linda McCormick

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