It’s always been a dream of mine to bring my dog to work. I am so jealous of the people that work at the companies in the Northeast Ohio area where you can actually do this! One such lucky place is OurPets in Fairport Harbor on the east side. OurPet’s designs and manufactures pet products, from dog and cat toys to pet bowls and feeding devices. I recently sent some questions to Peter Ostapowicz, Marketing Coordinator at OurPet’s, to learn more about the company’s dog-friendly culture.
Are any other pets allowed besides dogs?
Yes, we have had cats, a turtle, and even an iguana at one point.
What went into the decision to allow employees to bring their pets to work?
We have had a pet policy for about seven years now and it started when one employee started to bring their dog into work and then other people wanted to as well.
Are there any rules for bringing pets to work? Can employees do it whenever they want or only on certain days?
Yes, we have a policy for people to follow when they bring their pets into work. The most important item to note is that people come first. It is important that we provide a safe, nonthreatening and healthy work environment for all employees. With the exception of service animals for individuals with disabilities, having animals in the workplace is a privilege, not a right. Having animals in the workplace requires complete responsibility on the part of the pet owners. Pet owners are expected to recognize that not all employees or visitors like animals in the office, and in some cases people with allergies cannot tolerate being in close proximity to animals.
We believe that the pet must be “office-broken,” well behaved and non-aggressive. This means, house broken, friendly to fellow workers, strangers and other animals in the office, and not protective of your workspace (growling or threatening people as they come into or pass your area). Pets also must have the ability to be contained (gate for your office, leash, etc.) because they are not always able to be with you in meetings or when you step away from your desk.
OurPet’s does allow employees to bring their pets into work throughout the entire work week.
Has there ever been issues among the dogs?
There have been instances where an animal was not “office-broken” and being disruptive in the workplace and the pet’s owner was asked to refrain from bringing that animal into the workplace.
What advice would you have for a company considering being pet-friendly?
To remember that not all employees may be comfortable with animals in the workplace and that it is important to ensure that all of your employees operate in a comfortable, safe environment.
Do you have any funny stories of something a pet did in the office?
Nothing too crazy, but there was a time that an employee’s dogs got loose in the office and ran around during a meeting and startled a few people. There is also a dog that only hangs around people while they are eating lunch or waits for you to give them a dog treat and then moves on to the next person.
Do you work at a dog-friendly office? I’d love to hear about it! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org