Ruff Life: Owner-Tested Tips for Bringing Your Dog to the Office

By    July 8, 2013

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Liz Fowler’s Eliot

One of the best things about working at SpareFoot is getting to bring our furry friends to the office whenever we want. The clickety-clack of canine toenails across the office floor has become as routine a sound as the flutter of fingers on keyboards, the occasional foosball-induced expletive and the roaring belly laugh of our editor in chief, the dog-loving but non-dog-owning John Egan. June 21 marked the 15th annual Take Your Dog to Work Day, but for us, the dog days are never over.

I’d like to imagine that if you’re a dog, being at the SpareFoot office is heaven; there are nearly 90 people ready to give you attention, praise and dedicated belly rubs. There’s a kitchen filled with seductive food, tons of random playthings and crannies to explore, and more than enough willing hands to scratch your ears and secretly reward you with human food when you extend a paw to shake. What a life! As the chihuahua Tito wisely said in Disney’s often-overlooked masterpiece “Oliver & Company” …

“Hey, man, if this is torture, chain me to the wall.”

A typical day in the office for a SparePup

All jokes aside, having your pet in the office can be a great experience, especially if your office is dog-friendly and your employer encourages you to bring your dog to work. In addition to giving your pup a change of scenery and livening up the pooch’s day, having your dog at work gives you a chance for some necessary breaks throughout the day, like a lunchtime walk. These tiny breaks are especially conducive to improving productivity–they can be a great way to refresh and reset in the middle of a workday. (At SpareFoot, we use a puppy calendar to keep track of our dog days.)

Having an animal in the office also can be a source of joy and relaxation for your colleagues, who probably will appreciate the comforting surprise of a little wet nose nudging at their elbows from time to time. As a common courtesy, remember to clean your dog before you take him or her to work with you. Bring your pup’s favorite treats, toys, doggie bags, leash and anything else to make the transition from home to office easier.

Here’s some tried-and-true advice from resident SpareFeet who have more than enough experience bringing their pets to work.

Rachel Morse (Marlo)

“Marlo’s name was decided by tons of SpareFoot Facebook comments and suggestions and an office poll. He is just one of the many SpareFeet that gets excited to go to work in the morning. Shefari’s (our amazing chef, Ari Dvorin) liberal use of bacon at lunch also helps.”

Jenelle Cottriel (Hans Gruber)

“The first time I brought Hans Tupac Gruber (AKA Gruberhund, Grubby Gruber or The Grubermenche) to the office, he was just barely 2 months old. (You don’t get to choose the best time to rescue a pup!)

“The best piece of advice I’ve got is to keep a puppy pad around, as The Pup was occasionally picky about where he wanted to use the restroom, even though he was potty-trained. Combine that with puppies having pea-sized bladders (pun totally intended), and there was a lot of extra time required to make sure he didn’t mess up our office. Other than that, sometimes it was better to carry him around busy areas, as he was quite little and very adept at being underfoot. But despite all the extra attention needed to have a puppy around, I think it was great for his socialization, and Gruber still makes my workdays wonderfully cuddly.”

Rachel Greenfield (Aubrey)

“I wish I could bring my gorgeous rescue mutt, Aubrey, to the office more often, but she is scared of men after a past life of abuse and neglect.

“While she is a super-affectionate sweetheart at home and to her many human friends, she can be aggressive toward coworkers she doesn’t know. I’m continuing to train her to be less protective of me. No one wants a skittish barking dog chasing them at the office, and it’s even more distracting and embarrassing for the owner! If you have a crazy rescue, know that most people are cool and know that it’s not your fault they’re so misunderstood. That said, think twice before bringing them in until you have a better handle on their training.”

Jeanette Dehay (Penny)

“So since Penny was/is super shy, I always made sure to let people know that she’s a bit nervous around strangers, and to always be gentle and calm around her since she scares so easily. Since I’ve been bringing her to work, she’s gotten much more used to everyone in the office, especially the people who sit around me. I also make sure that she’s with someone familiar if I have to leave the third floor for any reason! And last but not least, I make sure to be very aware of when she used the bathroom last. Nothing more embarrassing than a mysterious puddle or pile somewhere in the office….”

Josh Lipton (Mr. Shockey)

“When I first told Mr. Shockey about the ‘work hard, play hard’ culture of SpareFoot, he couldn’t wait to visit the office; his mind filled with images of Frisbees to catch, squirrels to chase and visitors to greet. Leaping into the car that morning, he could barely contain himself as we navigated our way downtown, entered the parking garage and paraded to the entrance. ‘Uhhh, Josh?’ said Shockey, turning toward me slowly as we walked into the darkened, early morning SpareFoot offices. ‘I’m not so sure about this place … where are the Frisbees, the squirrels, the delivery men?’

“He was right–this wasn’t exactly the kind of place a dog is used to, and I wondered how he would handle the whole experience. ‘Give it a chance,’ I said as we visited the kitchen, filled a bowl of water and headed back to my desk together to watch the day unfold.

“Those next few hours were an amazing, if not slightly exhausting, experience for Mr. Shockey as he greeted every single team member and roamed the office seeking treats, back scratches and the occasional rogue foosball. After a full day of work (barking enthusiastically at every opportunity) and play (barking enthusiastically at every opportunity) came to a close, I left it to Mr. Shockey to sum things up best:

‘That was the strangest house I’ve ever been to, but everyone was so friendly that I just couldn’t help myself with all the talking. But I’ll tell you one thing, Josh, if I ever catch the sales team meeting on a ‘No Meeting Wednesday’ again, I’m going to do more than just growl at them–I’m going to teach them a lesson they won’t forget.’”

To summarize Josh Lipton’s literary masterpiece: We love having our dogs in the office, and they love us right back. Check out some of the other SparePups to have graced us with their beautiful, slobbery presence.

Willa Glesener’s Rosemary

Scooter Womack’s Cooper

Craig Barrett’s Kuma


Matt Schexnayder’s Riley

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Jahn Veach’s MJ

Brian Megless’ Cava


Tony Emerson‘s Milo


Melissa van de Putte’s Wrigley

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Jordan Brown’s Izzie


Geni Glynns Nolte (actually her sister’s pooch)

Jenny is part of the marketing team at SpareFoot. She currently lives in Austin, TX and likes sushi, Faulkner and Asian horror movies.

  • Lucky13X

    All of them so very cute.

  • Jenny Zhang

    “Thanks, Albert.”
    - Dogs of SpareFoot

  • Jacob Hallahan

    This is amazing. I absolutely cannot wait to apply to SpareFoot.

    -Jake & Trevi

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