• Mark Topley

Three reasons you need a dog at work

This is my dog – Raffie. We got him last year as an 8 week old puppy, and haven’t looked back. His name is short for ‘Rafiki’ which is Kiswahili for friend. And that he is. He loves the kids, and he and I enjoy a daily (very) early morning walk together. Right now that’s quite pleasant, in the winter, when it’s near zero and raining horizontally, a bit less so.

His mum is pedigree Chocolate Labrador, his dad is a Chocolate Labradoodle. So strictly speaking, he is a labra-labradoodle. Translate that as ‘daft as a brush’. He eats anything, at any time, which can cause problems in the toilet department.

Today is the annual take your dog to work day. Sadly I can’t, as I’m travelling to London and then on to the annual ITI Golf Weekend, where I am speaking tomorrow night. And I know that the dentists reading this will have good reason why they cant take their pooches to the practice.

But I can, and I often do, to the office I share in Romsey, and there are some great things that taking Raffie to work does, for me and people that work in the office.

He makes you take a break – making sure he gets time to do his business, and not letting him get uncomfortable, means I have to get up and move around regularly. I’ve got one of those buzzy things that tells me when I’ve been too lazy every hour, but when Raffie isn’t around, I tend to ignore it. And as we know, sitting too long isn’t good for you, even if you’re only getting up to get a biscuit, like my friend Mark Oborn…

He is a healthy distraction – he is a great conversation starter, and also brings a different focus to the office, and in a healthy way. He is a very friendly chap, and loves to make his way around the desks saying hello to everyone. Some would say he even brings a calm atmosphere (unless he’s having a funny five minute), and that makes it a better place to be.

He interrupts – I’m a great believer in focus, and maintaining it to get great work done. But Raffie will lift himself every now and then and nudge me for some fuss. Although it brings me away from what I am doing for a few seconds, I find the engagement and connection healthy, and something that helps me to get through my day feeling less frazzled.

And for those reasons, I quite often take my mad dog to work. What about you?

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