How Take Your Dog To Work Day’ Is Changing Lives

First launched in 1999 by Pet Sitters International, Bring Your Dog to Work Day celebrates our furry friends and brings their special brand of love to new people.

Courtesy Woof Studios in Buchanan, MichiganYou’ve heard the expression, “I’ve been working like a dog.” Since you may (sometimes!) feel that way in the office, why not bring your actual dog into the office one day? Thanks to one mission, you can!

How Take Your Dog to Work Day got started

Take Your Dog to Work Day  (TYDTWDay), taking place Friday, June 23 this year, was first launched in 1999 by the King, NC-based Pet Sitters International (PSI). It’s generally held the first Friday after Father’s Day and is the culmination of Take Your Pet to Work Week.

According to Patti Moran, President, Pet Sitters International, the inspiration for starting Take Your Dog to Work Day was twofold. “Such a day provided a unique opportunity to celebrate the great companions dogs make and to encourage their adoption. Also, our pets are like children to many of us. There was a Take Your Daughter and Son to Work Day—but what if your son or daughter had four legs and fur?!” Here are the secrets your pet wishes it could tell you.

How it fosters adoption

Some companies participate in TYDTWDay by fundraising for a local pet adoption agency, while others love bringing their canine kids to the workplace and introducing them to coworkers. “These employees appreciate that their employer respects the important role their pet plays in their life,” says Moran. “And once dog-less coworkers see the loving bonds and relationships their colleagues have with their dog, they are inspired and encouraged to adopt a dog who needs a good home, which helps the community at large.”

According to Moran, a pup named Severn, was one of the very first dogs to be adopted as a result of TYDTWDay. “He was rescued during a flood and was named after the river he was rescued from, the Severn,” Moran says. “Someone adopted him after hearing his story at a TYDTWDay event in 2001.” Moran, who currently had four dogs (one is a rescue), hears stories like this every year on TYDTWDay. “Dogs are stress relievers, ice breakers, and just plain fun to have around.”

How it boosts office morale

Self-proclaimed dog-lover Christine Eluskie is the Software Implementation and Support Manager for Village Green apartment complexes. Based in Famington Hills, MI, she and her office of nearly 100 employees has participated in TYDTWDay for more than 15 years—Eluskie spearheads the event every year.

Eluskie, who has fostered many pets, adopted an American Pitbull Terrier named Chloe, who inspired Eluskie to participate in TYDTWDay for more than 15 years. Village Green’s TYDTWDay events (which are usually week-long) raise funds for the Animal Placement Bureau, the adoption agency where Chloe came from. They have doggie costume contests in the office, charity fundraisers, and more.

“We change up the theme every year,” says Eluskie, whose office will definitely be participating in TYDTWD again this year. Last year, she raised more than $12,000 for pet charity and hopes to beat that number this year. “It’s exciting to see everyone get so into it, and it’s so much fun. People want to show off their dogs, who are leashed the whole time when walking around the office. Many new employees say to me, ‘Wait, I can bring my dog in for the day? Really?’ It’s an event Village Green supports wholeheartedly.” Here are 14 things animals in shelters wish you knew.

How dogs like Chloe make a difference

Courtesy Christine EluskieChloe, who is almost 15 years old, survived two tumors on her front right leg, which sadly had to be amputated last year. “She’s a cancer survivor, a fighter, and brings such joy to my life,” says Eluskie. “Chloe’s so in tune to me, feels what I feel, and honestly, makes me a better person.”

This year, Pet Sitters International is bolstering its commitment to promoting pet adoptions by using the 2017 DYDTWDay campaign to raise awareness of (and funds for) Pets for Patriots. This 501(c)3 charitable oranization helps veterans and military members adopt the most overlooked shelter pets, offering them a second chance at life through adoption.

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Rachel Sokol
Rachel Sokol is a longtime contributor to Reader's Digest, tackling mostly cleaning and health round-ups. A journalism graduate of Emerson College, she's a former education writer, beauty editor, and entertainment columnist.