Push for more pets at work

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - EMILY FORD

More peo­ple should re­alise the ben­e­fits of bring­ing their pet to work, an Auck­land vet­eri­nar­ian said.

No mat­ter where she goes, Shalsee Vigeant’s three dogs are never far away.

From the of­fice to vet clin­ics, or af­ter-work vol­ley­ball, they’re her con­stant com­pan­ions.

The head of ve­teri­nary ser­vices at SPCA Auck­land said she had been tak­ing pet dogs to work with her for more than 20 years.

Perched on her desk, her two chi­huahuas Kapone and Kooper share a bed, while Tuuka, a dog she adopted from the SPCA three years ago, gets his own on the floor.

‘‘I’m part of their life as much as they’re part of mine, I couldn’t imag­ine leav­ing them at home ev­ery day. It helps make my day bet­ter,’’ Vigeant said.

SPCA, Pu­rina and the Men­tal Health Foun­da­tion want to in­spire more or­gan­i­sa­tions to en­cour­age pet friendly work­places with Pets at Work Day to­day.

Pu­rina es­ti­mates about 250,000 New Zealan­ders en­joy pet friendly work­places, but would like that to in­crease.

It’s some­thing Vigeant al­ways checks in a job in­ter­view, and she said she couldn’t work some­where that didn’t al­low pets.

‘‘I think the world is be­com­ing more pet friendly,’’ Vigeant said.

‘‘The more pet friendly a busi­ness is the bet­ter.

‘‘Places that tend to be pet friendly have a bet­ter at­mos­phere be­cause be­ing around pets makes peo­ple a lot more re­laxed.’’

Bring­ing her pets to work did come with chal­lenges, but the ben­e­fits - so­cial­i­sa­tion and be­hav­iour im­prove­ments - far out­weigh the neg­a­tives.

‘‘You bond with them all the time so they’re see­ing new be­hav­iours, rather than just when you come home from work.’’

While she’s seen plenty of dogs, some fer­rets and a chin­chilla in a cage over the years, she’s never worked in an of­fice with a cat.

How­ever, as long as they’re so­cialised she did not see any rea­son why peo­ple could not take their cat to work.

As for work­mates with al­ler­gies or peo­ple who were afraid of an­i­mals, as long as your pet was kept un­der con­trol and you cleaned up af­ter them it shouldn’t be a prob­lem, Vigeant said.

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