It’s not all belly rubs and rainbows.
Let me tell you the story of Hershey Potter. She was pulled from a kill shelter in Kentucky by a rescue group in Sharon Center, Ohio, called Maggie’s Mission. They pulled any animal that was evenly vaguely, marginally adoptable.
Enter Hershey, stage right.
Hershey has… issues. She was two (or three) years old when they handed me the leash, and had both recently given birth AND been spayed. After the foster mom left, I ran my hands over Hershey’s tummy.
She had wire sticking out of her. Was she a robot? DID I HAVE A ROBOT DOG?? (A) Cool, but (B) probably not, and what the hell?
Turns out that rescue animals do not exactly get concierge care from vets, and my new dog had surgical steel sutures that no one had bothered to remove. One eventually migrated somewhere into her abdomen (don’t even think about it), and the others were removed the next day by my vet.
Hershey does not like:
Men, hats, sunglasses, tall people, people who move, cats, other dogs, having her paws touched, the mail carrier, the FedEx guy, the UPS guy, my boss.*
And Hershey barks. A lot. At everything.
The office dog that I owned prior to Hershey was a Boxer-mix named Peanut (RIP) who was the perfect dog, period. So Hershey, the breed-to-be-named-later was, shall we say, a shock to the system.
She chased my boss for two weeks, but only because he kept running.
There are pros and cons to bringing your pet to work.
The upside seems obvious. According to Inc. Magazine, “Employers are starting to realize that having a Millennial bring … a pet to work, you wind up getting a more focused employee, you get someone more comfortable at the office and a person willing to work longer hours,” said Bob Vetere, president and CEO of the American Pet Products Association, in an interview with CNBC.
Which basically means you never have to go home to let the dog out, so do you mind working until 9:00pm? No? Good.
At the other end of the spectrum, I used to work in an office with a cat that only puked on my things. My desk, my chair, my keyboard. She also drank water out of my cup, which I only discovered four years into the job.
And needless to say, at least 50% of our clients were allergic to cats.
But everybody loves dogs. If you walk into our building and I ask you if you’re OK with dogs and you say “No,” I assume you are a serial killer.
There is a lot of yelling in our office, to make ourselves heard over the barking. But 99.999% of the time, people roll with it and JUST TALK LOUDER. They then share with me how many dogs they have, what breeds they are, mention how cute Hershey is, talk to her in a baby voice, and tell me about other dogs they have had in the past. It’s an ice breaker, and something to think about other than the fact that you are here in a law office to end your marriage, or avoid felony charges, or file bankruptcy, or something else equally no bueno.
This almost makes up for the fact that Hersh has completely destroyed the conference room (or, “the bark room”, as it is now called). I sometimes imagine one of our cases somehow making it to the Supreme Court** and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, transcript in hand, saying, “This testimony was taken in… does this say the bark room?”
Is Hershey a good fit for an office? No. Do I care? Also no, but only because I have that luxury. She is my furry appendage, my confidante, my family. When any of us are having a bad day, we take a Hershey break. Admittedly, my situation is weird. But then again, so is Hershey.
*This is by no means an exhaustive list.
** This will never happen.