News: Editors
Alpha Gets a Make Over
Step aside dominance, hello to loving and caring

The much over-used construct of “alpha” got a good roll over recently on the opinion pages of The New York Times. Carl Safina, the founder of The Safina Center at Stony Brook University, writes in his insightful op-ed, “Tapping Your Inner Wolf,” about how the alpha notion is rather misguided and demonstrates a misunderstanding of what it really means to be a leader. Instead of the aggressive, snarling, chest beating male alpha posture that many see as being “top” wolf—or dog for that matter—he points out that true alpha wolves don’t need to be aggressive at all, and actually have a quiet self-confidence that is “not domineering and nor aggressive to those on his team.” Making them, in fact, an exemplary role model for our species.

Debunking of what it means to be “alpha” and how this plays out with our relationship to dogs, has often been the subject of Bark articles. Sadly there are still some trainers (especially ones with large TV followings), who still don’t get it and claim that dogs are trying to “dominate” us and it is up to us to show them who’s “alpha.” How often have you heard something along the lines of, “my dog is trying to dominate me by pulling on her leash,” or “he’s trying to be alpha by blowing me off when I call to him,” sadly the list of misapplied notions of dominance and what it means to be alpha, goes on.

As to why people still cling to this false alpha meme, even though leading experts have demonstrated that positive reinforcement is far more effective and humane, is anyone’s guess. A few years back Patricia McConnell, PhD offers a “simple” suggestion in her Bark column “Down with Dominance.”

“Perhaps another reason we are so susceptible to the fallacy of “getting dominance” over our dogs is that it makes dog training seem simple. One-step shopping — just get your dog to accept you as “alpha,” and voilà! Your dog will stop jumping up on visitors and will quietly walk through the neighborhood at your side, ignoring all the interesting stuff, like squirrels and information left by other dogs as they passed by. No training required, either for your dog or, as importantly, for you.” She goes on to note that, “although there are questions and quibbles about some of the finer points, experts almost universally agree that the concept of “getting dominance” over our dogs is, at best, not useful, and more often is harmful to our relationships with our best friends.”

And Bark’s behavior columnist, Karen London, PhD thinks that it might feed into our desire for control, which sadly can have far reaching consequences, as she observes, “far worse, it can lead, at best, to a dog who performs because he is intimidated, and at worst, to a dog who is abused. The fact is, dogs will respect us only if we are consistent, clear and fair. They will love and trust us only if we are loving and patient and are able to communicate to them in ways that they understand.” This is very much the same well-oiled family/pack dynamic that Safina describes about wolves.

So it’s great when someone with respected science chops like Safina takes on alphaness and it gets even better that he also points out that biologists are now suggesting that the wolf family/pack structure work with having shared leadership, with the females doing “most of the decision making.” This can includes “where to travel, when to rest and when to hunt.” As wolf researcher, Rick McIntyre, told him, “It’s the alpha female who really runs the show.” Which leads Safina to conclude that human males can definitely learn something from real wolves, and that includes a “respect for females and sharing responsibility” in their families. Proving once again, that we have a whole lot to learn from the ancestors of the species that we share our lives with.


News: Editors
Drones Help Dog Rescue Operation

Drones are coming to the rescue for stray dog operations in Houston. This innovative program is spearheaded by Tom McPhee, executive director of World Animal Awareness Society (WA2S), he’s the pilot behind the drone controls too. WA2S is filming a new television show called “Operation Houston: Stray Dog City,” to examine the stray dog problem in that city and profile the community people trying to save the animals. What better way to get a true count of the scope of the problem by marrying technology, i.e. drones and GPS, with on-the-ground volunteers who provide invaluable help to the dogs? Drones, to many, are annoying, invasive buzzing “toys,” but in the able hands of McPhee and other animal lovers, they can be the perfect “search and rescue” tool giving a synoptic, eye-in-the-sky view of stray dogs. See this story of how Bobby, a stray who hangs around a local park, is helped by Martha Vasquez and her Clark Park Forgotten Barks and Friends. Many of the dogs they care for are victims of dog fighting. But the stray dog problem in Houston is so enormous that is has earned the reputation as being, “Stray Dog City 2015,” maybe even outpacing Detroit for that infamous “honor.”

Drone might turn out to be good tool for local shelter or rescue groups. Have you heard of similar operations using drones to maybe locate lost dogs, or to track strays?



News: Editors
Organ Donation Ad Wins Hearts
The dog-human bond stars
The FATH (Fundación Argentina de Trasplante Hepático) and DDB Argentina present “The man and the dog”, a story of friendship that seeks to inspire people to become organ donors.

This has got to be one of the most touching PSAs of all times—speaking volumes for the enduring connection between dogs and people. The video, “The Man & The Dog,” was developed by the agency DDB Argentina for FATH (Fundación Argentina de Trasplante Hepático) an organ donation program in that country, and in only 90-seconds itells the moving story of the bond that all dog people can readily understand. See what you think, and be ready to shed a tear or two at the emotional, uplifting ending. Understandably it has become a viral sensation.


News: Editors
Billie Holiday and Her Dogs on Her 100th Birthday

This week marks the centennial (April 7, 1915) of one of America’s greatest and most individualist artists, Billie Holiday. Considered the greatest jazz vocalist of all time, Holiday’s distinctive vocal style made her musicianship equal to the titans of the golden era—Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Artie Shaw, Lester Young—all musical collaborators with the great “Lady Day.” Her troubled life, drug addiction and arrests, could not overshadow one of the most creative legacies of the 20th century. Holiday’s influence still reverberates today. A constant presence in her later years were her dogs—Mister, a Boxer and Pepi, a Chihuahua. They no doubt provided comfort during uncertain times, and the love that echoes throughout many of her songs.

Mister and Billie Holiday, 1946. William P. Gottlieb/Libray of Congress
Pepi and Billie Holiday, 1957. Bob Willoughby/Redferns

News: Editors
FOUND: First Ever Dog Tech Conference Offers Glimpse of Future
Megan Casey, Co-founder/CEO of Pack

What does technology hold for the future of dogs? It’s an interesting question that was posed by the FOUND Dog Tech Conference held at San Francisco’s Digital Garage last Thursday, March 19. The inaugural FOUND event was created by Pack, a social network for dogs and their owners. One of the new breed of tech companies designed to serve next generation dog owners and their canine companions, Pack brought together tech movers and shakers to rally around common causes—to elevate the conversation around dog focused technology businesses, share new ideas and opportunities, and ponder their collective future. The leaders of Pack, Rover, Petcube, PrideBites and Whistle took to the stage to showcase their particular vision on dog business. Part product showcase, part tent revival—each presenter worked hard to convince the audience that the “pet space” was being reinvented and that the market opportunity ($80 billion annually) is huge and growing. The big message: dogs, and thus these start-ups, were to be taken seriously.

Dog tech today is based more on emulation then innovation, so one is more apt to meet the Fitbit for dogs or Uber for dogwalkers then fresh, radical ideas. The most successful business models are service oriented—helping dog owners (or pet parents as marketers like to say) hook up with care, products and social groups. But the financial investment appears to be real, and early success is helping people forget the failures of the past. Pets.com and its talking sock puppet is often cited as the poster child for misguided failure from tech’s big bust in the late ’90s. Today’s entrepreneurs are working hard to connect to the burgeoning pet market and find success.

What does tech have in store for dogs and their people? Here are a few takeaways from FOUND:

Dogs are not frivolous—they help us be healthier and happier, and thus should be considered part of the health and wellness industry. This shift in perspective reflects a line of thinking that may find traction with investors, and in turn foster more innovation.

Dogs make us social—Pack’s goal is to connect dog owners … to each other, to their cities, to their dogs. Think of Facebook for dogs, a canine social network. Pack Co-founder/CEO Megan Casey emphasized the relationship between dogs and their owners’ well-being. She also noted that more than half of all U.S. smartphone users have dogs.

Responding to underserved markets—Rover connects owners to a nationwide network of qualified dog boarders. Founder/CEO Aaron Easterly feels he has identified a large underserved market, one that operates in what he termed “the shadow economy”—casual transactions between family and friends that operates under the radar of standard business analysis. The early returns of his venture are promising enough to secure a new round of $25M investment, raising Rover’s total funding to over $50M.

Customization—PrideBites is pursuing the megatrend of personalization, the desire of consumers to design their own product. In this case, it’s placing your dog’s name or likeness on to toys and apparel made in China but the greater potential lies in customized dog food, pharmaceutical products and data systems.

Digitizing dogs—Whistle is one of a handful of new “smart” collars or wearable devices that monitor a dog’s activity with the capacity to connect data to health providers. “Our goal with Whistle,” said Jacobs, “is to give dogs a voice.” As the technology expands, expect more complex data monitoring and analysis.

What was missing? For all the talk of unconditional love and dogs making us better people, we didn’t hear talk of a deeper understanding of dog people and their needs. Nor was there acknowledgement of the wide diversity of the canine community. But that may have to wait for Dog Tech 2.0—for now, companies are targeting the low hanging fruit. Speaking of community, scant mention was made of efforts to contribute to our most pressing issues … animal rescue/adoption, humane causes or education. I hope that changes.

For now, it was refreshing to see a serious gathering of energetic, smart business people committed to dogs, or at least, the dog market. Some good things will take hold, others will fail, but in the end, there will be new services and products to make your life and your dogs’ a little better. One of the most insightful comments of the evening came from panelist Jon Lax, director of product design at Facebook … “the goal for any dog app or website should be to make us better caretakers. If we are spending more time with our apps than we are with our dogs … then something is amiss.”

News: Editors
Bark’s Directory of The Best Dog-Friendly Companies
Compiled from Bark’s Best Places to Work

The following businesses understand the value of working in the company of dogs— whether it’s writing code, blowing glass or saving the environment … work is just better with a dog by your side. We’ve gathered together the most comprehensive list of dog- friendly workplaces in America, both large and small, covering 30 states. We salute these companies for working and playing hard, and valuing a belly-rub and as much as a balance sheet. (If you know a dog-friendly company we’ve missed, please add it in the comments)

Company: 3five, Inc. 
Headquarters: Minneapolis, MN 
Business type: Web/Mobile Design 
Number of employees: 8 

Company: Advent Software 
Headquarters: San Francisco, CA 
Business type: Software 
Number of employees: 1141 
Dog-friendly notable: The company hosts dog-related event and "holistic health" classes for their pet owners. 

Company: Amazon 
Headquarters: Seattle, WA 
Business type: Online Retailer 
Number of employees: 88,500 
Dog-friendly notable: Dogs must remain on a leash unless it is behind a baby gate or in an office with a closed door. 

Company: archer>malmo, inc.
Headquaters: Memphis, TN
Business type: Advertising/Marketing
Number of employees: 160

Company: Assembly of Dog 
Headquarters: Seattle, WA 
Business type: Dog Daycare / Boarding 
Number of employees: 4 
Dog-friendly notable: Employees dogs board for free and receive treats and poo bags.  

Company: Autodesk 
Headquarters: San Francisco, CA 
Business type: Software 
Number of employees: 7000 
Dog-friendly notable: Autodesk offers pet insurance as a benefit, and dog ID tags. 

Company: Average Joes Entertainment
Headquaters: Nashville, TN
Business type: Record Label
Number of employees: 25

Company: Ben & Jerry's  
Headquarters: South Burlington, VT 
Business type: Ice Cream Manufacturer 
Number of employees: 110 
Dog-friendly notable: Approximately 110 human employees and roughly 15 to 20 dogs 

Company: Big Communications 
Headquarters: Birmingham, AL 
Business type: Advertising/Marketing 
Number of employees: 43 
Dog-friendly notable: Milk bones, dog beds and Frosty Paws aplenty.  

Company: Big Foot Media
Headquaters: Chicago, IL
Business type: Media/Video Production
Number of employees: 5

Company: Big Spaceship 
Headquarters: Brooklyn, NY 
Business type: Advertising/Marketing 
Number of employees: 62 
Dog-friendly notable: Office dogs have professional photos taken for website feature. 

Company: BISSELL Homecare, Inc. 
Headquarters: Grand Rapids, MI 
Business type: Floor Care Products Manufacturer 
Number of employees: 2000 
Dog-friendly notable: Pet Spot, is their pet-friendly facility featuring work stations, conference area, indoor kennels, dog bathing station and play area. 

Company: Bitly
Headquaters: New York, NY
Business type: Advertising/Marketing
Number of employees: 65

Company: Boa Technology 
Headquarters: Denver, CO 
Business type: Technology 
Number of employees: 72 
Dog-friendly notable: Hosts dog-friendly events and pet health/wellness programs. 

Company: Boly:Welch 
Headquarters: Portland, OR 
Business type: Consulting 
Number of employees: 32 
Dog-friendly notable: Longstanding relationship with the Oregon Humane Society through volunteerism and in-kind support.   

Company: Bomber Industries
Headquaters: Silverthorne, CO
Business type: Retailer
Number of employees: 4

Company: Bravo! Vail
Headquaters: Vail, CO
Business type: Music Service
Number of employees: 15

Company: Build-A-Bear-Workshop 
Headquarters: St. Louis, MO 
Business type: Toy Manufacturer 
Number of employees: 4,250 
Dog-friendly notable: Featured on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For list. 

Company: Bulkley West 
Headquarters: Seattle, WA 
Business type: Manufacturers Representative Group 
Number of employees: 5 
Dog-friendly notable: Current staff/dog ratio: 5 employees and 8 dogs  

Company: Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners 
Headquarters: Sausalito, CA 
Business type: Advertising/Marketing 
Number of employees: 150 
Dog-friendly notable: Listed on Outside magazine's 50 Best Companies to Work, their day includes a daily group dog walk. 

Company: Camp Bow Wow of Bridgewater 
Headquarters: Bridgewater, NJ 
Business type: Dog Daycare / Boarding 
Number of employees: 45 
Dog-friendly notable: Provide free daycare, discounted boarding/training/grooming. 

Company: Canine Detection and Inspection Services 
Headquarters: La Grange, IL 
Business type: Inspection Services 
Number of employees: 10 
Dog-friendly notable: All dogs have full health coverage and an abundance of toys/treats/snuggles. 

Company: Cape Art Tiles
Headquaters: Truro, MA
Business type: Print Manufacturing
Number of employees: 6

Company: Carnation Corners 
Headquarters: Carnation, WA 
Business type: Retail 
Number of employees: 4 
Dog-friendly notable: Treats for all.  

Company: CattleDog Publishing
Headquaters: Davis, CA
Business type: Publishing
Number of employees: 6

Company: Century Box 
Headquarters: Methuen, MA 
Business type: Folding Carton Manufacturer 
Number of employees: 120 
Dog-friendly notable: Employs a dog walker while the pooches are on-site. 

Company: Certified Wildlife Friendly  
Headquarters: Bainbridge Island, WA 
Business type: Non-Profit 
Number of employees: 4 
Dog-friendly notable: Closes office for annual ski day and summer outings—including dogs on cross country skiing and summer adventure (paddling, hiking or biking).  

Company: Chehalem Wines 
Headquarters: Newberg, OR 
Business type: Winery/Distillery/Brewery 
Number of employees: 14 
Dog-friendly notable: Grassy one-acre fenced-in dog area next to the winery provides room for playing and socializing. 

Company: Chuck Latham Associates 
Headquarters: San Diego CA 
Business type: Pet Products Broker 
Number of employees: 50 
Dog-friendly notable: Pets get to test and taste products from companies represented. 

Company: Clif Bar & Company 
Headquarters: Emeryville, CA 
Business type: Manufacturer of Food 
Number of employees: 350 
Dog-friendly notable: Large off-leash area, VPI pet insurance discount, unlimited paid time-off to volunteer for animal causes. Included on Outside's Best Places to Work list in 2010. 

Company: Country Walkers 
Headquarters: Waterbury, VT 
Business type: Tour Operator 
Number of employees: 23 

Company: Cram Crew
Headquaters: Houston, TX
Business type: Education
Number of employees: 50

Company: Culver Brand Design
Headquaters: Milwaukee, WI
Business type: Design Agency
Number of employees: 18

Company: Dean Insurance Agency
Headquaters: Altamonte Spring, FL
Business type: Insurance
Number of employees: 4

Company: Delphic Digital
Headquaters: Philadelphia, PA
Business type: Digital Agency
Number of employees: 42

Company: Diamond Creek Pet Retreat & The Canine Sports Center 
Headquarters: Goshen, CT 
Business type: Dog Training 
Number of employees: 15 
Dog-friendly notable: Outdoor exercise area for on and off-leash activity, dog treadmill when weather is bad, numerous treats. 

Company: Doggyloot 
Headquarters: Chicago, IL 
Business type: Online Retailer 
Number of employees: 15 
Dog-friendly notable: Copious amounts of samples, chews, treats, toys and doggy accessories. 

Company: dogIDs
Headquaters: Fargo, ND
Business type: Retailer
Number of employees: 11

Company: Dogster/SAY Media 
Headquarters: San Francisco, CA 
Business type: Entertainment 
Number of employees: 300 
Dog-friendly notable: Poop bags and treats aplenty. Brings together visiting children and dogs for added fun. 

Company: Dogtopia 
Headquarters: North Bethesda, MD  
Business type: Dog Daycare / Boarding 
Number of employees: 84 
Dog-friendly notable: Complimentary dog daycare services, discounts on boarding and retail products. 

Company: DogTrekker 
Headquarters: San Rafael, CA 
Business type: Travel Directory / Online Services 

Company: Dogwise 
Headquarters: Wenatchee, WA  
Business type: Book Publisher 
Number of employees: 9 
Dog-friendly notable: Dogs encouraged to try new products—toys and treats. 

Company: Etsy 
Headquarters: Brooklyn, NY 
Business type: Online Retailer 
Number of employees: 200 
Dog-friendly notable: Since its start in 2005, the craft marketplace site Etsy has been a dog friendly office. 

Company: Flathead Spay & Neuter Task Force
Headquaters: Columbia Falls, MT
Business type: Veterinary
Number of employees: 30

Company: Fluent City
Headquaters: Brooklyn, NY
Business type: Education
Number of employees: 8

Company: Found Animals 
Headquarters: Los Angeles, CA 
Business type: Non-Profit 
Number of employees: 40 
Dog-friendly notable: Dog food/treats aplenty. Ample time allotted to employees for walks/playtime with pets. 

Company: Frenchie Winery 
Headquarters: St. Helena, CA 
Business type: Winery/Distillery/Brewery 
Number of employees: 50 
Dog-friendly notable: For every bottle of Frenchie wine sold, $1 was donated to the ASPCA foundation to support animal rights. 

Company: Freshpet 
Headquarters: Secaucus, NJ 
Business type: Pet Food Manufacturer   

Company: Fueled 
Headquarters: New York City, NY 
Business type: App Design 
Number of employees: 30 
Dog-friendly notable: Dogs welcome in the office at all times, doggy toys/food available. 

Company: Giraffe Marketing 
Headquarters: Durango, CO 
Business type: Advertising/Marketing 
Number of employees: 4 
Dog-friendly notable: All outdoor events include dogs and in company cars, a canine co-pilots encouraged. 

Company: Glassy Baby 
Headquarters: San Francisco, CA 
Business type: Glass Blowing   

Company: Google 
Headquarters: Mountain View. CA 
Business type: Web Search Engine 
Number of employees: 20,000+ (Mountain View)  

Company: Grassroots solutions, inc 
Headquarters: Minneapolis, MN 
Business type: Consulting 
Number of employees: 40 
Dog-friendly notable: Treats, toys, cozy sleeping areas provided. 

Company: Halmoni 
Headquarters: Oakland, CA 
Business type: Retail 
Number of employees: 5 

Company: Harbors Home Health & Hospice
Headquaters: Hoquiam, WA
Business type: Home Care
Number of employees: 48

Company: Healthwise 
Headquarters: Boise, ID 
Business type: Health Information Provider 
Number of employees: 210 
Dog-friendly notable: Dogs have played a part in its culture from the first day, thanks to Healthwise’s dog-loving CEO, Don Kemper, who currently shares his office with a Bulldog mix named Tuba 

Company: Healthy Paws Pet Insurance 
Headquarters: Bellevue, WA 
Business type: Insurance 
Number of employees: 30 
Dog-friendly notable: Discount on pet insurance, healthy snacks, former vet technicians on staff. 

Company: Helen's Salon 
Headquarters: Claremore, OK 
Business type: Beauty & Cosmetics 
Number of employees: 4

Company: HelloSociety
Headquaters: Santa Monica, CA
Business type: Advertising/Marketing
Number of employees: 22

Company: Humane Society of the United States 
Headquarters: Washington, DC 
Business type: Non-Profit 
Number of employees: 623 
Dog-friendly notable: Employees reimbursed for pet care expenses incurred due to work-related travel. Discounts on pet insurance. Flexible visits permitted for vet appointment, vacation leave or other needs.  

Company: Hydro Flask
Headquaters: Bend, OR
Business type: Manufacturer
Number of employees: 34

Company: Ideapark 
Headquarters: Minneapolis, MN 
Business type: Advertising/Marketing 
Number of employees: 26 
Dog-friendly notable: Full treat jar in the kitchen and a smattering of beds around the office. 

Company: IMC
Headquaters: Holmdel, NJ
Business type: Advertising/Marketing
Number of employees: 15

Company: IMRE 
Headquarters: Baltimore, MD 
Business type: Advertising/Marketing 
Number of employees: 83 

Company: InsightSquared
Headquaters: Cambridge, MA
Business type: Software
Number of employees: 105

Company: Integrated Benefit Consultants 
Headquarters: Rolling Hills Estates, CA 
Business type: Insurance 
Number of employees: 6 
Dog-friendly notable: Pet insurance is provided as part of our employee benefits. 

Company: Intent Media 
Headquarters: New York City, NY 
Business type: Technology  

Company: Jaime Ellsworth Studio
Headquaters: Friday Harbor, WA
Business type: Arts
Number of employees: 4

Company: Jersey Printing Associates 
Headquarters: Atlantic Highlands, NJ  
Business type: Print Manufacturing 
Number of employees: 26 

Company: Joliet Slammers
Headquaters: Joliet, IL
Business type: Baseball
Number of employees: 300

Company: Jones Soda 
Headquarters: Seattle, WA 
Business type: Manufacturer of Soda 
Number of employees: 20 

Company: Justia 
Headquarters: Mountain View, CA 
Business type: Legal Portal / Online Services 
Number of employees: 80 
Dog-friendly notable: Dogs roam free, attend meetings, go on walks, offered treats and special birthday celebration. 

Company: Justuno
Headquaters: San Francisco, CA
Business type: Software
Number of employees: 9

Company: JVST USA LLC.
Headquaters: San Francisco, CA
Business type: Advertising/Marketing
Number of employees: 7

Company: K9 Country Club & Training Academy 
Headquarters: Bulverde, TX 
Business type: Dog Daycare / Boarding 
Number of employees: 12 
Dog-friendly notable: Employees gets access to the Beach Club, discounts on grooming, doggie daycare. Offer field trips with their dogs. 

Company: Karmaloop 
Headquarters: Boston, MA 
Business type: Online Retailer 
Number of employees: 200 

Company: Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. 
Headquarters: Indianapolis, IN 
Business type: Non-Profit 
Number of employees: 21 
Dog-friendly notable: Office dogs sit in on staff meetings, hang out with the employees and play outside. 

Company: Keiler 
Headquarters: Farmington, CT 
Business type: Advertising/Marketing 
Number of employees: 46 
Dog-friendly notable: Incorporated “Puppy Policy” into employee handbook—allowing dogs to accompany their owners into the office on any given day of the week.   

Company: Kiosked Ltd
Headquaters: Los Angeles, CA
Business type: Advertising/Marketing
Number of employees: 45

Company: Klutz 
Headquarters: Palo Alto, CA 
Business type: Gaming 
Number of employees: 43 

Company: KolbeCo 
Headquarters: O'Fallon, MO 
Business type: Advertising/Marketing 
Number of employees: 7 
Dog-friendly notable: 5th year of producing an annual donation drive—Frills For Furbabies—to support local animal shelter Stray Rescue of St. Louis. 

Company: Kriser's 
Headquarters: Chicago, IL 
Business type: Pet Food Manufacturer 

Company: Kyjen 
Headquarters: Centennial, CO 
Business type: Pet Food Manufacturer 
Number of employees: 26 
Dog-friendly notable: Dogs are a vital part of the creation of Kyjen products. Regular company outings with dogs. 

Company: Larson Family Winery 
Headquarters: Sonoma, CA 
Business type: Winery/Distillery/Brewery 
Number of employees: 20 
Dog-friendly notable: Provides dogs 100 acres of land and vineyards with a creek to roam and explore.  

Company: Law Offices of Daniel F. Brookman 
Headquarters: Santa Monica, CA 
Business type: Law Firm 
Number of employees: 5 
Dog-friendly notable: Offers leashes, water dishes, treats and toys for all the dogs, plus daily dog walk breaks. 

Company: Le Chateau Pet Resort
Headquaters: Amarillo, TX
Business type: Pet Resort
Number of employees: 24

Company: LeashLocket, Ltd./AEI 
Headquarters: Denver, CO 
Business type: Pet Product Manufacturer 
Number of employees: 8 
Dog-friendly notable: Office features plenty of dog beds, treats, chews and toys, plus time for dog walking. 

Company: Liftopia 
Headquarters: San Francisco, CA 
Business type: Online Retailer 
Number of employees: 35 
Dog-friendly notable: Dog toys, dog beds aplenty. 

Company: LocalResponse 
Headquarters: New York, NY 
Business type: Advertising Network 
Number of employees: 25 

Company: Lovely 
Headquarters: San Francisco, CA 
Business type: Rental Listing / Online Services 
Number of employees: 15 
Dog-friendly notable: Outdoor and indoor space for dogs—indoor facilities offers bean bags and lounge chairs to share with employees.  

Company: Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards 
Headquarters: Solvang, CA  
Business type: Winery/Distillery/Brewery 
Number of employees: 34 
Dog-friendly notable: Company dogs have been featured in winery promotion photos. 

Company: Madison House Assisted Living Residence 
Headquarters: Cortez, CO 
Business type: Assisted Living Residence 
Number of employees: 17 

Company: Marcus Thomas LLC 
Headquarters: Cleveland, OH 
Business type: Advertising/Marketing 
Number of employees: 150 
Dog-friendly notable: All the meeting rooms are named after their dogs.  

Company: Martinez Animal Hospital  
Headquarters: Martinez, CA 
Business type: Veterinary Hospital 
Number of employees: 17 

Company: mcgarrybowen
Headquaters: New York, NY
Business type: Advertising/Marketing
Number of employees: 600

Company: Midland School 
Headquarters: Los Olivos, CA 
Business type: School 
Number of employees: 24 
Dog-friendly notable: 2,864 acres of open space to frolic, dogs live in dorms with students, integrated into study and work life.  

Company: Milton M. Muraski DDS Inc.  
Headquarters: Hilo, HI  
Business type: Dental Office 
Number of employees: 7 
Dog-friendly notable: Office dog(s) provide love and relaxation for patients and staff. 

Company: Ministry of Supply
Headquaters: Boston, MA
Business type: Retailer
Number of employees: 10

Company: Momofuku Milk Bar 
Headquarters: New York City, NY 
Business type: Bakery 
Number of employees: 89 
Dog-friendly notable: Daily dog walks with employees, plus occasional baked treat extraordinaire.  

Company: Morristown Deli 
Headquarters: Morristown, NJ 
Business type: Restaurant  
Number of employees: 20 
Dog-friendly notable: Active supporter of local shelters and rescue organizations. 

Company: Motivators
Headquaters: New York, NY
Business type: Distributor
Number of employees: 60

Company: Mrs. Grossman's Sticker Factory 
Headquarters: Petaluma, CA 
Business type: Factory and Store 
Number of employees: 100 
Dog-friendly notable: Outside kennels for factory workers dogs, office dogs accompany their owners. 

Company: Natural Habitat Adventures 
Headquarters: Boulder, CO 
Business type: Wildlife Safaris 
Number of employees: 36 
Dog-friendly notable: Dog treat stations throughout the office, extensive open space for walks/runs.  

Company: Nebo Agency 
Headquarters: Atlanta, GA 
Business type: Web/Mobile Design 
Number of employees: 45 

Company: Neff Associates 
Headquarters: Philadelphia, PA 
Business type: Advertising/Marketing 
Number of employees: 12 

Company: NORTH
Headquaters: Portland, OR
Business type: Advertising/Marketing
Number of employees: 30

Company: Now What
Headquaters: New York, NY
Business type: Strategy/Research
Number of employees: 30

Company: O.H.S.O. Eatery & nanoBrewery 
Headquarters: Phoenix, AZ 
Business type: Winery/Distillery/Brewery 
Number of employees: 65 
Dog-friendly notable: Homemade dog treats to all guests, sponsors fundraisers benefitting dogs. 

Company: ODEL PLC 
Headquarters: Colombo, Sri Lanka 
Business type: Clothing 
Number of employees: 200 
Dog-friendly notable: Sponsors adoption programs, rescue and treatment plus education programs aiding street dogs. 

Company: Ogden Contract Interiors, Inc.
Headquaters: San Francisco, CA
Business type: Contractor
Number of employees: 25

Company: Ombud 
Headquarters: Denver, CO 
Business type: Software 
Number of employees: 10 
Dog-friendly notable: Monthly grooming, daily runs/walks by dog walker, dog pantry, dog picnics, visits to Dog Adventure Park. 

Company: Onestop Internet 
Headquarters: Compton, CA 
Business type: Technology 
Number of employees: 220 
Dog-friendly notable: Doggie breaks, treats and playtime. 

Company: OverGo Studio
Headquaters: Southport, NC
Business type: Advertising/Marketing
Number of employees: 10

Company: Page One Web Solutions
Headquaters: Portland, ME
Business type: Web Development
Number of employees: 18

Company: Palantir Technologies
Headquaters: Palo Alto, CA
Business type: Software Company
Number of employees: 750

Company: Paula's Choice 
Headquarters: Seattle, WA 
Business type: Beauty & Cosmetics 
Dog-friendly notable: Offers discount pet insurance. 

Company: Paws 
Headquarters: Tucson, AZ  
Business type: Veterinary Hospital 
Number of employees: 20 
Dog-friendly notable: Provides free pet training, free pet food once a month and underwater treadmill.  

Company: Peskind Law Firm 
Headquarters: St. Charles, IL 
Business type: Law Firm 

Company: Pet Sitters International (PSI) 
Headquarters: King, NC 
Business type: Association 
Number of employees: 14 
Dog-friendly notable: Provides annual $50 veterinary-care reimbursement, annual Hungry Bowl™ Pet Food Drive and an Annual Take Your Dog To Work Day® celebration. 

Company: PetPeople 
Headquarters: Hilliard, OH  
Business type: Pet Supplies Retailer 
Number of employees: 11 
Dog-friendly notable: Offers employee discounts, store dog uniforms for in store/event dogs, discounted vet visits. 

Company: Peterson Milla Hooks Advertising
Headquaters: Minneapolis, MN
Business type: Advertising/Marketing
Number of employees: 65

Company: Pose 
Headquarters: Santa Monica, CA 
Business type: Technology 
Number of employees: 14 
Dog-friendly notable: Employees take turns walking and playing with whichever dogs are present. 

Company: Possible 
Headquarters: Seattle, WA 
Business type: Advertising/Marketing 
Number of employees: 1500 
Dog-friendly notable: Dog owners alias to share info or schedule play time in office. Large chalk mural in the main lobby showcases 11 office pups. 

Company: PrintingForLess.com 
Headquarters: Livingston, MT 
Business type: Print Manufacturing 
Number of employees: 170 
Dog-friendly notable: Ample outdoor space for the dogs to run and exercise. 

Company: Procter & Gamble 
Headquarters: Cincinnati, OH 
Business type: Pet Food Manufacturer 
Number of employees: 358 
Dog-friendly notable: Provides free pet food to employees up to 400 lbs. annually; 5% discount on pet insurance. 
iams.com eukanuba.com

Company: Qualey Granite & Quartz 
Headquarters: Veazie, ME 
Business type: Counter Top Fabricator 
Number of employees: 18 
Dog-friendly notable: Provides 2 fenced acres for play and recreation. Dogs have full run of the office, including quiet spots.  

Company: Radio Systems Corporation
Headquaters: Knoxville, TN
Business type: Manufacturer
Number of employees: 627

Company: RE/MAX Results So Co 
Headquarters: Saint Louis, MO 
Business type: Real Estate 
Number of employees: 30 
Dog-friendly notable: Open door pet policy at all times. 

Company: RedRover 
Headquarters: Sacramento, CA  
Business type: Non-Profit 
Number of employees: 14 
Dog-friendly notable: Offers annual veterinary allowance associated with emergency care to eligible employees.   

Company: Replacements, Ltd. 
Headquarters: Greensboro, NC 
Business type: Retail 
Number of employees: 450 

Company: Road Rebel Entertainment Touring Logistics 
Headquarters: San Diego, CA 
Business type: Travel and Logistics 
Number of employees: 50 
Dog-friendly notable: Features a "pup commissioner" as well as a dog committee to promote a happy, healthy, puppy environment. 

Company: Rover.com 
Headquarters: Seattle, WA 
Business type: Sitter Listings / Online Services 
Number of employees: 30 
Dog-friendly notable: Provides communal dog treats and pet clean-up supplies, plus walk breaks. 

Company: RSA FILMS 
Headquarters: West Hollywood, CA 
Business type: Production Company 
Number of employees: 50 
Dog-friendly notable: Treats plus mobile dog grooming service visits once every three weeks. 

Company: Ruffwear 
Headquarters: Bend, OR  
Business type: Dog Product Manufacturer  
Number of employees: 25 
Dog-friendly notable: Supports positive feelings dogs bring to the office environment.  

Company: S/Nipped 
Headquarters: Coos Bay, OR 
Business type: Non-Profit 
Number of employees: 5 
Dog-friendly notable: Offers medical services and products to employees and board members at cost.  

Company: Sam Simon Foundation
Headquaters: Malibu, CA
Business type: Dog Training / Non-Profit
Number of employees: 8

Company: Service Dog Project 
Headquarters: Ipswich, MA  
Business type: Dog Training / Non-Profit 

Company: Sevnthsin 
Headquarters: Minneapolis, MN 
Business type: Web/Mobile Design 
Number of employees: 8 
Dog-friendly notable: Community doggy water dish and several doggy beds for naps. 

Company: Scream Agency
Headquaters: Denver, CO
Business type: Advertising/Marketing
Number of employees: 6

Company: Small Dog Electronics 
Headquarters: Waitsfield, VT 
Business type: Retail 
Number of employees: 30 
Dog-friendly notable: Insurance for dogs of all full time employees. 

Company: Small Girls PR
Headquaters: Brooklyn, NY
Business type: Advertising/Marketing
Number of employees: 14

Company: SoundCloud
Headquaters: San Francisco, CA
Business type: Music Service
Number of employees: 18

Company: SpareFoot 
Headquarters: Austin, TX 
Business type: Technology 
Number of employees: 90 
Dog-friendly notable: Dog snacks aplenty. Employees keep track of pets on official Puppy Calendar. 

Company: Sports Basement 
Headquarters: San Francisco, CA 
Business type: Outdoor Retailer  

Company: Springbox Digital Partners
Headquaters: Austin, TX
Business type: Digital Media
Number of employees: 45

Company: StackMob, Inc. 
Headquarters: San Francisco, CA 
Business type: Technology 
Number of employees: 28 
Dog-friendly notable: Provides free doggie daycare, belly rubs, treats. 

Company: Summit Contractors Group 
Headquarters: Jacksonville, FL  
Business type: Construction 
Number of employees: 60 
Dog-friendly notable: Fenced-in playground, full interaction with clients and other employees.  

Company: SUP ATX 
Headquarters: Austin, TX 
Business type: Retail 
Number of employees: 32 
Dog-friendly notable: Complimentary meet-up group for people and their dogs for instructions on how to paddle board. 

Company: Swift
Headquaters: Portland, OR
Business type: Advertising/Marketing
Number of employees: 85

Company: Swift Collective 
Headquarters: Portland, OR 
Business type: Advertising/Marketing 
Number of employees: 23 
Dog-friendly notable: Dogs are welcome at everyone's desk and in every meeting. 

Company: SwiftTest 
Headquarters: Santa Clara, CA 
Business type: Software 
Number of employees: 65 
Dog-friendly notable: Employees take dogs for walks, include them in meetings, play fetch.  

Company: Synapse Product Development 
Headquarters: Seattle, WA 
Business type: Product Development 
Number of employees: 165 
Dog-friendly notable: Dog club promotes dog events, plus Dog Faces directory on a wiki, dog resources and information. 

Company: Tassel Depot 
Headquarters: Deerfield Beach, FL  
Business type: Manufacturing  
Number of employees: 16 
Dog-friendly notable: Promotes a home-like welcome to dogs. 

Company: theAmplify
Headquaters: Culver City, CA
Business type: Advertising/Marketing
Number of employees: 10

Company: The Clymb 
Headquarters: Portland, OR 
Business type: Outdoor Retailer 
Number of employees: 108 

Company: The Glenn Group 
Headquarters: Reno, NV 
Business type: Advertising/Marketing 
Number of employees: 40 
Dog-friendly notable: 4th annual “Dog Mob & Fair” benefits pet-approved organizations, including The Shakespeare Animal Fund and The Animal Foundation. Annual bring your dog to work event and party hosted at their offices.  

Company: The Golden Paw 
Headquarters: San Diego, CA 
Business type: Pet Resort 
Number of employees: 18 
Dog-friendly notable: Access to doggie day care, free overnight lodging and discounts on grooming/retail/food. 

Company: The Honest Kitchen  
Headquarters: San Diego, CA 
Business type: Pet Food Manufacturer 
Number of employees: 26 
Dog-friendly notable: The "co-woofers" receive discounted  pet insurance, frequent pet trainers, nutritionists, birthday celebrations. 

Company: The Nerdery 
Headquarters: Minneapolis, MN 
Business type: Interactive Design 
Number of employees: 450 
Dog-friendly notable: Weekly "dog frolics unleashed in the Nerditorium." 

Company: The Squires Group, Inc. 
Headquarters: Annapolis, MD 
Business type: Consulting 
Number of employees: 25 
Dog-friendly notable: Fido-friendly, stress easing workplace featured on a local ABC News Channel. 

Company: The Watering Bowl
Headquaters: St. Louis, MO
Business type: Doggy Day Care
Number of employees: 36

Company: Tito's Handmade Vodka 
Headquarters: Austin, TX 
Business type: Winery/Distillery/Brewery 
Number of employees: 60 
Dog-friendly notable: Web launch to fundraise for national low cost spay neuter called "Vodkafordogpeople.com" 

Company: Tomlinson's Feed & Pets 
Headquarters: Austin, TX 
Business type: Pet Supplies Retailer 
Number of employees: 60 
Dog-friendly notable: Treats, socialization, and entertainment aplenty. 

Company: TrainingPeaks 
Headquarters: Boulder, CO 
Business type: Software 
Number of employees: 48 

Company: Treats Unleashed 
Headquarters: St. Louis, MO 
Business type: Pet Food Manufacturer 
Dog-friendly notable: Pet amenities feature the 'Barking Lot' and the 'Woof Top Dog Run' for their dogs to play.  

Company: Trupanion 
Headquarters: Seattle, WA 
Business type: Pet Insurance 
Number of employees: 250 
Dog-friendly notable: Full-time dog walking service with option for trips to the dog park, pet bereavement day, baby gates and tethers at every cubicle pod, pet insurance, official pet team to oversee the pet policy. 

Company: Vaughn building
Headquaters: Austin, TX
Business type: Real Estate
Number of employees: 6

Company: Vision 360 Design  
Headquarters: Dallas, TX 
Business type: Hospitality Design  
Number of employees: 10 
Dog-friendly notable: Website dogs claim positions of Head of HR, Security, and Public Relations Representative. Company provides doggie treats, walks, babysitting, birthday parties, and photo shoots. 

Company: WAKA Kickball & Social Sports 
Business type: Social Sports 
Number of employees: 150 
Dog-friendly notable: All employees work out of their home offices, thus pet-friendly.  

Company: Wasabi Rabbit
Headquaters: New York, NY
Business type: Advertising/Marketing
Number of employees: 17

Company: Wild Goose Chase, Inc. 
Headquarters: La Grange, IL 
Business type: Wildlife Management 
Number of employees: 32 
Dog-friendly notable: Full health insurance package as well as all the toys, treats, vitamins, and nutritional supplements aplenty. 

Company: Winchester House 
Headquarters: Libertyville, IL 
Business type: Long Term Care/Rehabilitation 
Number of employees: 100 

Company: Wolf Conservation Center 
Headquarters: South Salem, NY 
Business type: Non-Profit 
Number of employees: 5 
Dog-friendly notable: Staff dogs can accompany employees/volunteers on trips — modeling for the online store or as an impromptu therapy dog on a visit to a local center for people with developmental disabilities. 

Company: Working Dogs for Conservation 
Headquarters: Bozeman, MT 
Business type: Non-Profit 
Number of employees: 6 
Dog-friendly notable: Offers working dogs the opportunity to be happier, healthier dogs and contributing better scientific data while bonding with handler. Dogs get a full retirement when their working career is over.   

Company: Wyatt Technology Corporation 
Headquarters: Santa Barbara, CA 
Business type: Scientific Instrument Manufacturer 
Number of employees: 102 

Company: Zynga 
Headquarters: San Francisco, CA 
Business type: Gaming 
Number of employees: 1757 
Dog-friendly notable: The company pays a portion of pet insurance, offers a rooftop play area and hosts a professional photo-shoot on annual Puppy Love day.  

Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Bark’s Best Places to Work: 2015 Edition

In some workplaces, lucky employees are offered a range of enticing benefits—juice bars, daycare, climbing gyms—but for us, those that top the charts open their doors and cubes to dogs. And for the firms who submitted entries to the second annual Bark’s Best Places to Work contest, having dogs on-site is also a matter of pride.

Across the country, companies large and small are proudly flying the dog flag, and that’s a good thing. Dogs in the workplace mean reduced employee stress, increased employee satisfaction and a positive work environment. Not to mention an option to lighten up with a little puppy love when things get harried.

Our sponsoring partner, Zuke’s, is pretty darned dog friendly itself. As Chris Meiering, director of innovation, says, “Our canine companions have an immeasurable impact on the culture of our company and the quality of our workplace. Without dogs under our desks, Zuke’s wouldn’t be the same.” The fine folks at Zuke’s will be sending each of the three winning firms a year’s supply of its wholesome treats. We can already hear the dogs cheering!


Trupanion, Seattle, Wash.
400 employees, 227 cats and dogs

No surprise here: Trupanion, a pet-insurance company, is owned and operated by people who love animals. Of the 227 dogs and cats who are approved to spend time on-site, about 150 show up each day—most of them of the canine persuasion. (When Darryl Rawlings founded Trupanion in 1999, he was the only employee, and his dog, Charlie, kept him company.)

The firm provides its employees with a plethora of pet-related benefits, including one free pet insurance policy with an enhancement that covers alternative therapies, a dog-walking service, baby gates and tethers at every cubicle, and a dedicated Pet Team made up of employees with veterinary, training and behavior expertise who provide guidance and review pet incidents. From intern to executive, everyone is expected to know and observe in-house protocols involving pet health and safety (and the prohibition on squeaky toys!).

And you know those emergency drills that require everyone to get out of the building and assemble in, say, the parking lot in an orderly way? Now, imagine that with the addition of dogs, cats, leashes and carriers. Trupanion took its commitment to its on-site companion animals into account when designing its fire safety plan, which was developed with the help of the local fire warden and experts in pet space.

On a business-review site, a Trupanion employee volunteered, “Never in my life have I ever loved a job as much.” It’s easy to understand why.

Etsy, Brooklyn, N.Y.
600 employees, 50 dogs

Connecting the crafty with their customers, Etsy prides itself on its casual and creative work environment. Some of that good vibe can be traced to the company’s canine operations team, manned—umm, dogged—by Sadie, Pierre, Hoover, Milo, Teddy, Starbuck, Tyson and Fish, to name just a few. (Employee experience manager Sarah Starpoli says even email looks rosy when Hoover comes over to say “hey.”)

Etsy’s dog-friendly policy, which has been in place from the e-commerce site’s beginning in 2005, allows employees’ dogs to wander at will through the company’s headquarters in Brooklyn’s Dumbo neighborhood, and their fans get email updates—“poop911s.”

Etsy gives employees time off to volunteer, which many use to lend a hand to humane and rescue groups; it also supports local adoption events. In fact, a number of the Etsy dogs are rescues—for example, Fish, whose full name is “Fish Dogg Hunt,” got his second chance from Etsy creative designer Randy Hunt.

Having dogs at work reinforces the company’s mission, which includes being a “mindful, transparent and humane business,” and making fun part of everything they do. (The “fun” was on display last Halloween, when the office swarmed with costumed kids and dogs enjoying a family-friendly party.)

As the company notes, “Through our dog-friendly policies, we’re living our values by crafting a happy, healthy workplace for our employees. … helping them better integrate their personal and professional lives, reduce stress and generally have more fun at work.”

archer>malmo, Memphis, Tenn.
160 employees, 25 dogs

Headquartered in Memphis’s historic Cotton Exchange Building, this advertising and marketing agency has been welcoming dogs to the office for the last 15 of its 60-plus years. The firm’s open (dog) door policy began in the late 1990s as part of “Bring Your Dog to Work” day; before long, dogs at work were the rule rather than the exception.

As CEO Russ Williams says, “Dogs bring joy to our hearts and lives at home, so why wouldn’t they do the same thing for us at work? There is no question in my mind that dogs in the office are accretive to the value of our work.” (Williams’ two dogs occasionally join him at the office.)

The company does pro bono projects for local humane and health charities, and individual employees do their bit for the rescue community as well. For example, one of the account managers is a long-time volunteer with Tails of Hope, assisting with adoption days and fundraisers, and fostering as needed.

Archer>malmo also makes pet insurance available to its employees, underwriting 10 percent of the premium. Until about a year ago, when a formal pet policy was put in place, company dogs roamed at will; there were, of course, occasional etiquette faux pas (who can forget the case of the purloined Pop Tarts?).

The firm counts companion-animal health businesses among its client base, so—in addition to adding to its feel-good quotient—archer>malmo’s dogs have been known to provide creative inspiration as well.

But Wait! There’s More!

Judging from the entries to this year’s Bark’s Best Places to Work contest, there’s no end to the ways dogs are incorporated into and provided for in the modern dog-friendly workplace. For example . . .

SUP ATX in Austin welcomes dogs to its company outings and socials, and office dogs take part in the company’s stand-up paddleboard classes.

Seattle-based Paula’s Choice considered canine requirements when choosing new office space, and in those offices, doggie gates and tethers are provided (plus, an unlimited supply of pickup bags); the company also offers subsidized pet insurance.

Ad agency Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners in Sausalito, Calif., includes office dogs in its emergency-response planning, and mid-morning group dog walks are a regular thing.

At Average Joes Entertainment, a Nashville alt-country record label, employees’ dogs are greeted with open arms and pockets full of dog biscuits.

NYC ad firm McGarryBowen offers comprehensive pet insurance as part of their benefit package.

Employees’ dogs at Eddie’s Wheels in Shelburne, Mass., help out with the company’s mobility-product R&D, and at Bomber Online in Silverthorne, Colo., they meet and greet visitors to the snowboard-binding operation.

In Seattle, online pet-sitter service Rover.com employees have a truly splendid pet-related benefit package, which includes a new-dog bonus, foster-home bonus, pet-bereavement time off, and sitter coverage when they take a well-earned vacation.

Portland, Ore., ad agency North, a small company with a big charitable footprint, supports its local dog-related organizations, including Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital and the Oregon Humane Society. Dogs are everywhere in the agency offices: “on laps, under desks, in meetings.” And how sweet is this? They describe themselves as patient with all types of workplace dogs: “old dogs, rescue dogs, nervous dogs, dogs who have to wear gym shorts and cones after surgery …”

In addition to clean floors, Bissell Homecare, Inc., of Grand Rapids, Mich., is also seriously devoted to animal welfare. The Bissell Pet Foundation, founded by Cathy Bissell, focuses on adoption, spay/neuter, microchipping and foster care to reduce the number of animals in shelters.

Employees of Now What, a Brooklyn-based strategy and research firm, volunteer time and donate money to Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue. And when they adopt a dog, they get a day of paid time off to help the newcomer settle in.

At distiller Tito’s Handmade Vodka in Austin, rescue dogs live on the premises, and the company actively supports several animal charities.

Pet retailer Kriser’s of Santa Monica, Calif., gives employees time off to volunteer with local humane groups.

Watering Bowl, a St. Louis, Mo., dog daycare and boarding business, reimburses its employees up to $125 for annual vet checks and covers new-dog adoption fees.

In Portland, Maine, web developer Page One Web Solutions gives employees who’ve lost a pet time off to grieve.

A small community of dogs (35, actually) lightens the 60-hour workweeks at security software firm Palantir, headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif.

At tech giant Google’s Mountain View, Calif., offices, freedom to bring their dogs to work is one of many enviable employee perks. The company provides a fenced play area and strategically placed treat stations.

In the Malibu, Calif., office of the Sam Simon Foundation, there are more dogs than people. The foundation, which trains assistance dogs, has a roster of 12 dogs and 8 employees.

Among other things, the 40 or so dogs who come to work with their people at the Radio Systems Corporation (DBA PetSafe), a pet product manufacturer based in Knoxville, Tenn., have their own dedicated dog park to frolic in, complete with agility equipment (lucky local dogs are also welcome to join the fun).

Bitly, a NYC-based digital marketing firm, has a casual but enthusiastic policy: “We love dogs!”

On the big-picture front, in Sri Lanka, Odel PLC, a clothing manufacturer, commits resources to programs that support rescue and adoption of its country’s street dogs.

And let us not forget the pioneers. The dogs-at-work protocol developed by San Francisco Bay Area design software firm Autodesk is quite possibly the granddaddy of them all. Dogs have been coming to work with their people here since 1982.

And in Greensboro, N.C., crystal, china, and silver retailer Replacements, Ltd., was chosen as the site of the first quantitative study on the benefits of dogs in the workplace, which was conducted in 2012 by researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University. It was a perfect match-up: Replacements has been dog friendly for 18 years (and counting).

Truth is, every company that entered makes winners of its employees and their dogs every single day. We congratulate and celebrate all of them.

News: Guest Posts
What’s Wrong with the "Wrong" Dog

One of the most shared recent articles in the New York Times was one about a “wrong dog” and how the op-ed blogger felt she was wronged by agreeing to adopt a young dog from a rescue group. I was going to write about this but then our good friend, and former Bark science editor, Mark Derr, wrote a great post for Psychology Today that brought up all the points, and then some, that I had wanted to make. He kindly allowed us to cross post his article:

The New York Times ran a opinion piece on Saturday, December 13, by Erica-Lynn Huberty on the trauma caused when a well-meaning young couple bring a sweet young rescue dog into their home who turns into a cat-killing maniac. The essay, “The Wrong Dog,” serves as a sobering reminder that not all found dogs fit as seamlessly into their new homes as Arthur, the Ecuadoran stray who joined a team of Swedish adventure racers and traveled several hundred arduous kilometers with them last month. The team captain then sought and won permission to take him home to Sweden, and their story went viral. 

Arthur’s story raised several questions in my mind: How frequently can dogs be said to choose their human companions, what criteria do they use, and what is their success rate? I have several friends who literally rescued dogs off the street, in one case the Brooklyn Bridge, and took them home to discover they had a friend for life.

Is it merely random chance that a dog and man or woman should meet and become instant friends?  I think that both are choosing—the human to save a fellow creature in distress; the dog to find a loyal companion. Any dog dumped in the road would want that but be suspicious, too, I should think.

People I know with multiple dogs often have dogs dumped near them by neighbors who assume they will take the dog in. They do and if it doesn’t fit into their existing “pack,” they will find the dog a home.  The private placements I know of have worked well—on occasion spectacularly. But dogs who go that route are the lucky exception among the abandoned millions.

The apparent ease with which human and dog share affection and respect casts light on why wolves and humans teamed up initially. Though the reasons remain mysterious, they clearly, I have long suspected, have to do with the ability of individuals from both species to form lasting bonds of friendship with someone other than their own kind and to do so voluntarily, as adults, as well as children and puppies.

Whatever mutations governing sociability occurred to make dogs, at least one must have involved fixing them as dominate in the dog genome—or so it appears.

But there are times human and dog don’t match up well, and unless something is done, the results can be tragic. Many of the failures in that relationship seem to arise from a lack of forethought on the part of the human, a fundamental failure to think through and find ways to meet the animal’s need for exercise, social contacts with people and dogs, consistent treatment and mental stimulation.

The central problem with Huberty’s essay lies in her argument that nothing short of ditching the dog when she first started acting oddly would have prevented the catastrophe that occurred. They would have done that had they known that some dogs are unfit for adoption, and no amount of training, discipline, or coddling will change that.

“We let ourselves believe that beneath our rescued puppy’s strange, erratic behavior was a good, loving pet,” Huberty writes. The truth was the opposite.

The back story is common enough. Having become smitten with a five-month old Lab mix, Huberty and her husband, decide to have her share their home with their three cats, a female dog, and two children.

From her arrival, the new dog, Nina, showed a defensive/possessive aggression that led Huberty to seek more information from the group who rescued her.

Huberty says that she and her husband followed the advice of Cesar Millan, “the Dog Whisperer” to create a “loving but disciplined environment.”  Nina responded by attacking a cat and biting Huberty when she intervened.

In response, Huberty called the woman who gave them Nina. She agreed  to pay for a trainer, who proved to be the anti-Millan. She advocated a rewards-based approach rather than “discipline.” The essay takes an odd turn here as Huberty calls the rewards-based method ‘coddling” while appearing to indicate that it was working up to a point.

Nina would go along being a normal, playful puppy. But at times, out of nowhere it seemed, she would snap at me or Alex and, once, at our son,” Huberty says, “She would suddenly cower and growl. It was like a switch flipped, yet we couldn’t figure out what had done it.”

Nor do they try to find out. Dogs do not usually change their behavior that rapidly and dramatically without reason. That could very well be an underlying pathology that a thorough examination by a veterinarian might reveal. Indeed, Huberty gives no indication that she ever took the dog to a veterinarian—the first stop a new dog or cat companion should make. 

If no physical reason for the behavior can be found, the next stop is to  consult a board-certified veterinary behaviorist. There are not many in the country but your veterinarian should help arrange a consultation.   

Huberty blames the dog, the woman who gave her the dog, the trainer—everyone but herself and her husband—and Nina herself for her failure to fit seamlessly into Huberty’s home. From this experience, she draws the conclusion that some dogs are just unsuitable for living with humans. That might be the case but there is no proof of it here.

Maybe we should seek ways to allow more dogs to choose their human companions.  I have a notion they would do a better job of it.  “And when they don’t fit in they may be saying ‘wrong family,’” said my fellow Psychology Today blogger Marc Bekoff after reading “The Wrong Dog.”  “Living with a dog is a two-way street and assigning unilateral blame gets us nowhere and once again leaves the dog out in the cold. This sort of ‘musical dogs’ is bad for the dog, as much research and common sense tell us.”

 Nina might pay with her life for human miscalculations and failure to seek professional help.              






News: Editors
Dogs Welcome at Heaven's Gate
with Pope's Blessing CORRECTED VERSION

On Dec. 16 The New York Times, where the following article was sourced from, published a clarification about the remarks attributable to Pope Francis:

An article on Friday about whether Pope Francis believes that animals go to heaven — a longstanding theological question in the church — misstated the pope’s recent remarks and the circumstances in which they were made.

He spoke in a general audience at the Vatican on Nov. 26, not in consoling a distraught boy whose dog had died. According to Vatican Radio, Francis said, in speaking of heaven, “The Holy Scripture teaches us that the fulfillment of this wonderful design also affects everything around us.” He did not say: “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.” Those remarks are reported to have been made by Pope Paul VI to a distraught child.

An article on Nov. 27 in Corriere della Sera, the influential Italian daily, compared Francis’ comments to Paul’s, and concluded that Francis also believed that animals go to heaven. A number of subsequent news reports then mistakenly attributed both quotations to Francis; The Times should have verified the quotations with the Vatican.

What a refreshing, and can I say, enlightened pope that Catholics have with Pope Francis! In responding to a little child’s grief at his dog dying, Francis told a crowd at St. Peter’s Square that, indeed, “paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.” This message sent theological scholars and humane societies across the world into a frenzy, the former trying to figure out exactly what the pope meant, the latter rejoicing in the great news that dogs and all animals can go, and merit going to heaven, and in fact, have souls. Such marvelous news. In reading through the reports about this “divine” decision, it was learned that it wasn’t until 1854 when papal infallibility was actually inscribed in that faith by Pope Pius IX who also supported the doctrine that animals have no consciousness, hence have no place in heaven, and even worse he tried to stop the founding of an Italian chapter of the SPCA. But back in 1990, Pope John Paul II seemed to reverse Pius when he said that “animals do have souls and are “as near to God as men are.” This position wasn’t well advertised by the church. Unfortunately John Paul was followed by the stricter more conservative, Benedict who reverted back to Pius’s position.

But now we have a new pope and definitely a new age in the way that most view animals, with a pope who, “citing biblical passages that assert that animals not only go to heaven, but get along with one another when they get there." Francis was quoted by the Italian news media as saying: “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.”

The editor of Catholic magazine, the Rev. James Martin, who is also Jesuit, like the pope, said that he believed that the pope was at least asserting that “God loves and Christ redeems all of creation,” and adds that “he’s reminding us that all creation is holy and that in his mind, paradise is open to all creatures, and frankly, I agree with him.”

While it is not such as surprise that Pope Francis, who took his papal name from St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, would take this humane, enlightened position, it is a remarkable gift he has given to all animal lovers this holiday season. Viva le Pope Francis!



Dog's Life: Lifestyle
Woman’s Dogs Kill Beagle
Now she’s suing the dead dog’s guardians

Emerald White’s four dogs entered her neighbor’s yard and killed a 10-year old Beagle named Bailey, and now she’s suing Bailey’s guardians for a million dollars in damages. Though my legal knowledge is minimal and my information about this case is limited to what appeared in a newspaper article about it, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this doesn’t seem right.

Apparently, the owner of the four dogs who attacked Bailey is claiming that she was injured when she went into the yard to collect her dogs. She says that she was bitten as well as scratched and requires ongoing medical care for her injuries. She also asserts that her pain and suffering are an issue because she is dealing with anxiety and fear as a result of being “unexpectedly and viciously attacked.” Her legal documents refer to an “unprovoked attack” but I don’t know which dog or dogs she says attacked her. Part of her claim is that Bailey’s family did not have their dog in a secure enclosure. There is some suggestion that the families talked about repairing the fence prior to this incident, with Bailey’s family pointing out that White had not responded to requests to fix her part of it.

The Beagle’s family chose not to sue the woman whose dogs killed their dog, because it would not bring Bailey back. They also felt that the legal response of declaring the other dogs dangerous was appropriate, and were comfortable with the obligations placed on White because of that designation.

I’m heartbroken for Bailey’s family and can only imagine how unfair it feels to be sued on top of suffering the loss of their dog.