Office dogs might just improve your mental health - Metro US

Office dogs might just improve your mental health

Murphy is always hard at work when he goes to the office.

They call Murphy the “Chief Relaxation Officer” at Teak Media + Communication’s office in South Boston, but he’s no typical office employee. That’s because Murphy is a furry 6-year-old Australian Shepherd that belongs to Teak’s Account Manager and Director of Special Events, Katie Stinchon.

Having her cuddly canine around the office is a major benefit of her demanding job, says Stinchon, who adopted Murphy at eight weeks old. “No matter how busy or hectic my day is, he makes me take a break, get fresh air and see daylight. In my industry it’s not uncommon to eat your lunch over your keyboard in between conference calls. Even though it can be a challenge to find twenty minutes to get outside, it’s a much needed brain break so I can return to my desk recharged.”

And while it can certainly be challenging at times to work alongside a furry friend (“Sometimes I think he purposely waits until I have a client call to tell me he’s got to go outside,” says Stinchon) the benefits far outweigh the negatives. And of course, there’s plenty of scientific evidence that shows how animals play a positive role in a pet owner’s life. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) frequently affirms that spending time with animals can assist in lowering blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglycerides, and feelings of loneliness. But it can also be beneficial for the animal as well.

“Allowing employees to bring their dogs to work is often a fantastic arrangement for the dog and her owner,” says Rob Halpin, spokesperson for the MSPCA-Angell. “The dog gets more one-on-one time with their person – and their person brings the comforts of home and animal companionship with them to the office.”

At Marlo Marketing/Communications, Principal Marlo Fogelman’s shitz-poo Lulu has played a rehabilitative role for employees. After the attacks at the Boston Marathon in 2013, MM/C’s employees found themselves deeply affected after witnessing the bombings from their office’s location at the finish line.

“A couple days after the bombings we did a group therapy session with professional counselors. Lulu literally walked around the entire circle and allowed everyone to pet her, snuggle, whatever they needed,” says Fogelman. “It was a true intuitive therapy dog moment.”

And when a hectic career means spending long hours behind a desk, having a dog there is a special comfort.

“I work a lot, sometimes late nights,” says Fogelman. “She definitely keeps me company on those occasions and is a fun way to unplug for a few minutes for my entire team.”

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