Tag Archives: Massachusetts

More than 90% of Workers Want Pets Allowed in the Office

As employers the world over mull return-to-office plans, pitting managers and workers against one another over how much time is enough time at the office, an MSPCA-Angell poll of 500 pet owners found that a whopping 92% support pet friendly offices.

As the MSPCA marks Take Your Dog to Work Day on June 24, the survey also revealed that three quarters of those polled say their office enforces a strict “no pets” policy.

Employees on the Move?

In a historically tight labor market, 53% of respondents said they would consider leaving their current roles to join an organization with a pet friendly office policy, while 4% said they are actively looking to make the move. Only 22% said they would not consider switching jobs as a result of their pet policy at work.

These findings should worry even the most hardened bosses, as the labor market remains intensely competitive.

“The survey underscores what we’ve always known to be true: That a large majority want the option to bring their pets to work, and that some workers are willing to seek out employers who value pets as much as they do. The poll makes clear that now is the time for employers to start thinking about developing pet friendly office policies as both a recruiting and retention incentive,” said Kara Holmquist, director of Advocacy for the MSPCA-Angell.

Holmquist noted that the MSPCA’s survey maps to previous polls, such as a 2021 survey that found 71% of Gen Z workers—and nearly half of millennials—planned to ask, or have already asked, their employer to implement a pet friendly office policy.

Beau in the office

“Pet Separation Anxiety” Impacting Employees’ Decisions

Forty four percent of respondents said concerns about pet care have impacted their decision on whether and when to return to the office. More than half of those people voiced concern about their pet experiencing separation anxiety and just over a third said they were worried about finding daycare for their animal.

Thirty four percent said that they are working a hybrid schedule, splitting time between a remote setting and their office, while nearly 28% are back in the office full time.

Experts: Everyone Can be Happy in a Pet Friendly Office

While it may seem to be a daunting change for organizations to implement, Holmquist says establishing clear guidelines and rules will lead to a pet friendly policy that can work for everyone. “Having clear and consistent rules can mitigate any potential conflicts with pets in the office,” she said.

Holmquist offers the following recommendations for pet friendly offices:

  • Be transparent: Use signs to indicate when a pet is in an office. “A simple sign can go a long way. It can tell people whether your pet is friendly and wants attention or if it should be left alone. The sign also alerts workers who do not want to interact with animals to steer clear of the area,” said Holmquist.
  • Be considerate: Leave animals that bark or make noise repetitively at home. “Everyone should be happy and comfortable in their office,” said Holmquist. “If your dog barks a lot, it could disturb your colleagues, so it’s best to leave the dog at home.”
  • Keep it clean: Keep pets out of cafeterias and break rooms where people are eating, and clean up after your pet. “Only animals that are housebroken should be allowed in the office, but accidents happen. If they do, clean up immediately,” Holmquist advised. “Also, don’t leave pet food on the floor overnight or between shifts.”

The MSPCA has an entire online resource devoted to the establishment of pet friendly office policies and anyone who’s interested can review it at mspca.org/petfriendly.

Survey Methodology

The MSPCA-Angell survey was conducted via email from May 25 – 30, 2022. The 556 responses were anonymous, but all were members of the MSPCA-Angell email list, which is composed almost entirely of Massachusetts and New England residents.

Source: MSPCA-Angell (Massachusetts Society for the Protection of Animals- Angell Animal Medical Center)

The Gloucester dog park

Whenever I travel, I like to visit dog parks, independent pet stores and other locations to see what works and to pick up on new ideas.

Today, I was able to visit the Gloucester dog park.  In this case, it was quite by accident – the dog park happens to be located across the road from the Welcome Center.

I particularly liked to see that prong, choke and spiked collars are specifically prohibited and that dog owners are encouraged to make donations to the upkeep of the park.

The double gated entries to both the large and small dog areas were spacious and easy to manage.

Well done to the Town of Gloucester (Massachusetts)!

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand


Spending eternity together

In 1991, when my beloved Husky/Lab cross Porky passed away at the age of 14, we decided the best tribute to him was a burial in the Pine Ridge Pet Cemetery.  Whenever I visit the area, I stop to give him flowers.

Porky's grave

And for the dogs I have had since then, I have made plans in my will which say that their ashes should be cremated with me.  I often talk with my clients about making their plans for when they and their dogs pass away.

Now I hear that the State of Massachusetts is debating House Bill 3272, which would allow the state’s 5,000 municipal, private and religious cemeteries to designate land for the “co-internment … of the bodies of humans and their pets.”

It’s not a law yet – but it’s a start of a welcomed, larger debate.  There will be sensitivities around the internment of animals alongside people already buried in regulated cemeteries, with some having objections on religious grounds.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

A unique photo series

Professional photographer Fred Levy of Maynard, Massachusetts heard about Black Dog Syndrome at the local dog park and decided to use his skills to help combat it.

As described here in my 2013 post, Black Dog Syndrome is a phenomenon reported by many shelters and rescues.  Black dogs are often depicted in movies and other media as mean, vicious and menacing.   And since many shelter don’t have lighting for ‘ambiance’ these dogs are often not seen in a flattering light.

“A dog shouldn’t be overlooked just because of its coat,” Levy said. “That’s a minor element when it comes to the dog.”

So he’s created a lovely photo series of black dogs using a black background to show off their beauty.

Here are a couple of examples:

Springer spaniel Aki

Aki, a Springer Spaniel

In this Oct. 2013 photo provided by Fred Levy, a black Labrador retriever named Denver poses in Levy's studio in Maynard, Mass. Levy, a pet photographer, first heard about “Black Dog Syndrome” in a 2013 conversation at a dog park. It’s a disputed theory that black dogs are the last to get adopted at shelters, perhaps because of superstition or a perception that they’re aggressive. The idea inspired Levy to take up a photo project on their behalf. (Fred Levy via AP)

A black Labrador retriever named Denver

And view more of the series on Fred’s website…

Great idea!

Source:  Yahoo news

The hero dog of Ashland (MA)

The Boston Globe has reported on a newly-recognized hero dog:  Dax.  Dax is the first recipient of a state heroism award.  In July 2013, Dax saved his handler from a suspect armed with a shotgun.

Dax’s medal came with a special backing to protect him from its sharp edges when he wears it.

Good dog!

Ashland Police Officer Christopher E. Alberini along with his partner Dax were awarded the Medal Of Valor. Governor Patrick gave Dax a pat on the head.  Photo by:  David L Ryan/Globe Staff

Ashland Police Officer Christopher E. Alberini along with his partner Dax were awarded the Medal Of Valor. Governor Patrick gave Dax a pat on the head. Photo by: David L Ryan/Globe Staff


New dog comforts victims

There’s a new staff member at the Suffolk Country District Attorney’s office in Massachusetts.  It’s Indy, a Golden Retriever/Yellow Labrador cross, who is the office’s new comfort dog.

Photo courtesy of Boston.com

Indy at her press conference (photo courtesy of Boston.com)

New Dog Comforts Victims in Suffolk DA’s Office – Massachusetts news – Boston.com.

Fairy dog mother?

I have found that most ‘dog people’ I meet support various charities that show their love of dogs. I am no exception. Today, however, I stumbled across a special charity that would allow me to become a Fairy Dog Mother.

They are Fairy DogParents, a non-profit in the state of Massachusetts.  The founder’s dog, Ladybug, was the inspiration behind the initiative.  Ladybug was already a senior dog when she was adopted from a shelter and her adoptive family considered themselves lucky that they could afford Ladybug’s medications for kidney disease, dementia and other ailments.  When Ladybug had to be put to sleep, her owner asked that the vet’s office re-distribute Ladybug’s un-used medication to someone who could use it.

Ladybug, in whose memory Fairy DogParents was founded

Ladybug, in whose memory Fairy DogParents was founded

And from there, the idea grew.  There are many dogs who are surrendered to shelters because of economics.  Their families simply can’t afford their care, particularly as they age or develop special health conditions.

Fairy DogParents has a simple application process for owners in need.  They serve Massachusetts residents only but hope to expand.  As with most non-profits, they are always in need of donations of goods, money and time.  Want to be a Fairy Dog Mother?  Follow the link below:

Fairy Dog Parent

Massachusetts State Police troopers from Sturbridge barracks credited with rescuing golden retriever

A heartwarming story of police who helped rescue a dog trapped under a car.  It’s not only children who get run over by their own family!

Photo courtesy of Massachusetts State Police

Photo courtesy of Massachusetts State Police

Massachusetts State Police troopers from Sturbridge barracks credited with rescuing golden retriever trapped under car at Holland residence | masslive.com.

Help! Needham needs a dog park

Needham, Massachusetts doesn’t have a dedicated facility where dogs can run and exercise off-leash.  For a town that is home to approximately 3,000 registered dogs, it’s a real shame.

Dog park image

Thankfully, a group of dedicated owners led by Mike Verdun and Bill Paulson are hoping to change that.  They and a group of about 10 other passionate dog owners have located a suitable site, the Nike Site, next to Ridge Hill Reservation. The group is now fundraising to establish the park.

Needham Dog Park map

$25,000 is needed to establish the facility; the bulk of the money is needed for the fencing, combined with signage and a wood chip base.  Double gates will ensure that dogs are kept safe as they enter and exit the park.

‘We’ve talked to other communities in Massachusetts that already have dog park facilities,’ says Bill.  ‘We’re confident in our design.’

So far, the group has raised $3,500 – so there’s still a long way to go.  If you and your dog benefit from off-leash exercise in your community, maybe you can consider making a small donation to help the dogs of Needham be rewarded with their own dog park.

The Needham Dog Park donation form has all of the instructions you need.  And you can follow progress via the Needham Dog Lovers Facebook page.

A special kind of service dog

Bet you didn’t know that a Great Dane can be a service dog!

These special needs dogs are ‘walker dogs’ – dogs to assist those people who have impairments to their mobility and balance.  These people can be Parkinson’s or MS patients and, more recently, it has been servicemen and women who have returned home with inner ear and brain injury.

The Service Dog Project exists to train dogs for the mobility impaired.

The Project has donated over 45 Great Danes to people with severe balance or mobility problems. They are located in Ipswich, Massachusetts on a 12-acre property.  Founder Carlene White was inspired to start the project because her father had Parkinson’s and she had a friend with MS.

Said Carlene in a recent Boston Globe article, ‘You can’t really balance with a walker or a cane, because you go over backwards.  You don’t go over backwards if you’ve got a 150-pound dog on handles.’

This YouTube video describe the Service Dog Project in more detail.