What do JFK, Europe, and Google Have in Common?

Google knows it. Presidents know it — dogs relieve stress and improve work performance.

by sandy steele • More.com Member { View Profile }
For information on Sandy Steele, go to http://sandysteele.com

Sometimes humans get it right. They really scored points with me when they created a “Take your dog to Work Day.” June 22nd is the designated month and day this year for animal parents to show their dogs to their co-workers and bosses. This great idea was first created by pet “walkers” in 1999. So make sure your pets are on their best behavior.

Since I'm currently in California for the summer, I decided to look around at companies located here on the West Coast. One of my faves, Google, has allowed dogs to come to work since 2002. They're always ahead of the curve, aren't they? The Google people believe that having your dog with you at work relieves stress and makes the employees more comfortable, and thus more productive. The Discovery Channel people believe that having a dog at work allows you to take a break and pet your dog or go out for a short walk to relieve stress. They think of it as “Preventative Healthcare.”

I read that courtrooms across the country are using dogs to calm victims testifying before their criminal perpetrators. The judge allows the person testifying to lean down and gently pet a dog lying nearby. It really helps in calming children who have been sexually abused by a family member to tell what really happened. One female dog was so popular in helping these victims that her co-workers nominated her for “Court Employee of the Year.”

So dogs help to calm and reduce stress for people in various occupations. Now which job has the most stress? How about President of the United States? Starting with the first president, George Washington kept his dogs with him while he was in office. Teddy Roosevelt took his dogs with him everywhere. Franklin Roosevelt was so close to his Scottish Terrier, Fala, that when he accidentally left him behind in the Aleutian Islands after a tour, he sent the Navy back to rescue him. Now that's service!

President Nixon had a Cocker Spaniel named Checkers who helped save his political career. His predecessor Lyndon Johnson got into trouble by picking up his beagles by their ears. Not smart! President Kennedy had an Irish Cocker Spaniel named Shannon and a Welsh Terrier named Pushinka. Pushinka, a gift from the Soviet Premier Khrushchev, was the offspring of the first dog launched into outer space. He made JFK laugh because he was always climbing up the ladder to his daughter's tree house. I guess it was in his genes to try and get as high as possible.

Gerald Ford had a Golden Retriever, Liberty, who gave birth to nine puppies in the White House. Jimmy Carter had a rescue dog named Grits. Ronald and Nancy Reagan, who were neighbors of big mommy's in L.A., owned two dogs; Rex, a Cocker Spaniel, and Lucky, a Bouvier Des Flanders Sheepdog. Wow. What a long pedigree. I wonder if “Lucky” helped President Reagan survive the assassination attempt that almost killed him?

George H. W. Bush (I call him George the First) owned a Springer Spaniel named Millie. Millie was so popular that when her autobiography came out it sold more copies than President and Barbara Bush's autobiographies. Bill Clinton had a Chocolate Labrador named Buddy. I'm sure Buddy helped during those trying times when he was undergoing impeachment proceedings. George W. Bush (George the Second) had the only dog (Spot, an English Springer Spaniel) to actually live in the White House during two different administrations. Now President Obama owns a Portuguese Water Dog named “Bo.” I wonder if Bo helps when the president gets into hot water from time to time?

The point I'm trying to make is that pets, especially dogs, have helped every president from Washington to Obama deal with stress and strain. Don't you think that every work place in America can use a “little help from your friends?”

Currently, more than 2.3 million dogs are taken to work on a regular basis. One in five businesses are now considered pet friendly. In fact, to keep ahead of competitors, more and more companies are welcoming workers' pets with open arms. My big Mommy, Sandy, who grew up in Europe, told me that the Euro nations have been allowing their dogs, cats and even birds, to go everywhere with them including restaurants for decades. Glad to see America is catching up.

Catch you later,

Susie & Sandy

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