Audrey’s first interview was a bit of a trainwreck.
Laura Hartle, editor at The BarkPost, toted her Toy Australian Shepherd Audrey to her job interview at the pet-friendly company. But the pup had other business in mind.
“She immediately proceeded to poop and throw up,” Hartle recalls. “Basically, she nailed it.”
These workplaces believe the benefits of having pets roam their halls outweigh the risks to carpet and upholstery. And they’ll go as far as assigning them staff passes and official titles to prove it. No word yet on how successful obedience training for humans has been at these companies.
It’s not a reach to assume that Tommy is the best-connected Pomeranian on New York’s startup scene–or that they typically have the best snacks. Beginning at Tumblr in 2012, Tommy has friends at Vimeo, BarkBox, xAd, and more, according to Mackenzie Kosut, technical operations lead at Oscar. He blogs for Oscar’s website, and on his own blog. Tommy joins the other office dogs at Oscar and his past internship at Tumblr.
“You know those moments where you are stuck on a hard problem and you’ve hit a wall?” says Kosut. “At Oscar health, you look down and there’s a smiling Pomeranian ready to help you tackle the problem. It helps having a fluffy pup roaming the area and brightening peoples days.”
Former Mashable community director Meghan Peters brought her dog Holly to work every day, giving her a nudge to get outside and move throughout the workday. “Our editor-in-chief has allergies,” Peters told Bloomberg Businessweek, “but as long as he doesn’t pet them and keeps his office door closed he’s usually okay.”
Would you turn down a job because they didn’t let your dog inside? Developer Dan Hunter’s decision to join the pet supply subscription company was largely influenced by their pet-friendly policy.
Despite her grand interview entrance, Hartle says having her dog there is a great stress-relief; Audrey’s “not above soliciting belly rubs and pets from trusted co-workers, who are happy to get in on that cute fuzznugget action.” Between 15-20 pets roam their offices on any given day.
With an already-enviable company culture, Google included dogs–and excluded cats–in their Code of Conduct:
Google’s affection for our canine friends is an integral facet of our corporate culture. We like cats, but we’re a dog company, so as a general rule we feel cats visiting our offices would be fairly stressed out.
But even before the policies were in place, Googlers brought dogs in to work in the earliest days. The company named Yoshka (who belonged to Urs Hoelze, SVP of Technical Infrastructure) their “top dog” in 2004. He was a Leonberger–a breed that could probably look you in the eye while you sit at your desk.
Dogs at work embody the “tenacity, loyalty and all-around playfulness” of their company culture, says Meghan Casserly, corporate communications manager at Google, “As long as they respect our ‘no peeing on the carpets’ policy.”
Sometimes your pack is more of a flock. At graphic design and web development company Pixelkeet, there are more birds listed on their staff page than humans, including Jello, vice parakeet of markeeting and Etzio, director of parakeet relations. “For about a year, Pixelkeet didn’t even display humans on its team page and would only post pictures of the parakeets working on projects,” says founder Jessica Greenwalt. “We attracted several high-profile clients with only our team of birds.”
The birds hang out on top of their cages or roll around the office in hamster balls. See Roubaix in action:
“There are probably three dozen people I know only because of my dog,” Drew Herdener, Amazon’s senior public relations manager, told The Bark. “Dulce is more social than I am, so she’s a nice ice-breaker.” Herdner and Dulce, his yellow lab/golden retriever mix, have Rufus to thank for starting the company’s dog-friendly trend.
“Having a tiny fluffy puppy baby in my lap makes me feel like I can handle anything that gets thrown at me during the day,” says Beauty Editor Gabrielle Korn, and Beauty Director Megan McIntyre agrees.
Pets are a conversation starter, bringing coworkers together who might not interact otherwise. “Having a dog in the office helps everyone decompress a bit and feel generally less stressed,” says McIntyre. “I mean, it’s hard to feel agitated when you have that furry face staring so sweetly at you!”
The online artists’ marketplace has welcomed workplace dogs since 2005. “It’s funny because I notoriously dislike dogs, but I love having them here. They make people smile almost universally, and I think they allow anxiety to diffuse when they suddenly skitter by,” employee experience manager Sarah Starpoli says on their blog. “I have a tough time hating my email when Hoover comes over to say ‘hey.’”
A cat made the way for future pets at Meetup HQ. After an employee adopted the stray, dogs started joining their owners to work–including the occasional mastiff. They’ve since set a policy to allow only small breeds, and created a dog-themed conference room complete with toys, according to Communications Director Kristin Hodgson.
Bringing her Shih-tzu/Schnauzer mix, Bo, into the office is a big burden off communications associate Katie Hawley’s mind. “If anything, having my dog with me makes me more productive,” she says. “I don’t have to worry about running out the door immediately after work to walk the dog–I have more flexibility with my time. I can stick around and finish a project or hang out with co-workers after hours and not feel bad leaving my dog home alone.”
Although they recently sold their pet holdings, P&G has a history of welcoming pets into the workplace. They’ve even sent a press release announcing the retirement of Euka, their V.P. of canine communications (who also happened to be a yellow Lab) and announced her successor, Pawl Griffin. “Griffin will handle his role well,” Jason Taylor, external relations manager, said in the official statement. “He’s young and eager, and he’s been trained by the best.”
The game developer was named after–and bears a logo inspired by–founder Mark Pincus’s bulldog. Zynga has the kind of company culture that startup satirists couldn’t make up–including pet insurance benefits, and a dog park on the roof.
Correction: A previous version of this article referenced Meghan Peters as a Mashable employee; she is formally of Mashable, and now works at Facebook.