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Take Your Dog to Work Day, an event established by Pet Sitters International in 1999, took place recently. Originally started to promote the benefits of owning a dog and encourage pet adoption, the event has blossomed. Mashable, a news website and social media blog platform, participated this year and reported that the workday was greatly improved: conference calls and meetings were much more entertaining and cuddle breaks reduced stress and increased smiles, according to a recent blog post.

Study after study extolls the benefits of dogs in the workplace. According to a Virginia Commonwealth University study from 2012, employees who bring their dogs to work produced lower levels of cortisol, the stress-causing hormone.

“Dogs in the workplace can make a positive difference,” says principal investigator Randolph T. Barker, Ph.D., professor of management in the VCU School of Business. “The differences in perceived stress between days the dog was present and absent were significant. The employees as a whole had higher job satisfaction than industry norms.”

Another interesting find: a study at Central Michigan University revealed that dogs in the workplace may result in increased trust between co-workers and greater collaboration among employees. “It’s heartening when research confirms our instincts and our practices,” comments Jennifer Fearing, co-author of Dogs at Work: A Practical Guide to Creating Dog-Friendly Workplaces and California senior state director for The Humane Society of the United States. “We heartily agree with the positive impact that dogs can have on workplace morale, collaboration and productivity. The more than 50 dogs that ‘work’ in The HSUS offices every day have been a huge boost that more companies should be enjoying.”

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