Point/Otherpoint: Dogs in the Workplace

by Jason Toon & Randall Cleveland

Since it's Pet Week on the Woot blog, we've asked some of today's most brilliant thinkers - ourselves - to explore the most vital question in human-canine relations today: should dogs be allowed into the workplace? Jason Toon and Randall Cleveland debate the question like two back-alley mutts fighting over a discarded bag of Jack in the Box curly fries. Remember, we kid because we love...

Put A Little Kennel In Your Office by Jason Toon

If everyone in America can agree on anything anymore, it’s this: office work is boring. So imagine my delight when I was leaving our building the other day and almost walked into an explosion of snarling, frothing fur and fang. Dogfight in the atrium! Now that’s excitement! Nobody got hurt – the owners were able to yank the combatants apart before the blood flowed – but this whiff of primal bloodlust certainly enlivened an otherwise dull afternoon under the fluorescent lights.

That’s the kind of unexpected little gift you’ll only find in a dog-friendly workplace. Sure, there are some other kinds that are less fun, especially if you step in them on the way to your yearly performance review. But given the standard of hygiene on display in this building’s human restrooms, the dogs come off looking pretty good on that score.

Dogs open the sterile environment of the office to the natural world, to the mysteries of life and death, to the rich variety of mammalian parasites. To be deeply focused on a particular work task, only to have your concentration broken by the yelp of a dog in a nearby cubicle, is to rediscover the anxiety experienced every day by our primitive ancestors. To be annoyed is to be alive.

Indeed, if you ask me, open-dog policies should be expanded to other species. Bring your goat, your iguana, your unemployed brother-in-law! I feel like I’d be a lot more productive if I could bring my beehives to the office with me instead of fretting about them all day from afar. My pretties need me.

Or, wait: what about bringing your kids to work? Like, say, an on-site daycare, so working parents had one less trip to make at the beginning and end of every day, and could spend a little more time working instead of driving, and come a little closer to that fabled “work-life balance” that everybody talks about?

Nah, that would be ridiculous. Dogs it is, then!

If I Wanted to Work with Dogs, I’d Have Gone Into Euthanasia by Randall Cleveland

What kind of office encourages people to bring their pets to work? The vapid kind desperate to adopt something, ANYTHING, as their own “kooky culture!” so that their pathetic Monster.com ads have something to offer. And since we work in just such an office, I see you’re taking full advantage and bringing your mangy, aggressive Presa Canario into the office. I’m sure it will be more than happy to just sit idly at your desk all day while not barking or distracting anyone as you seem to expect.

I’m sorry. Am I the only one who comes here to actually work?

Don’t get me wrong, I like dogs. “Man’s best friend” and all that. But here’s an idea: try bringing your best HUMAN friend to work. Have him or her sit in the corner and just stare balefully at you all day. Position some trash cans so they can’t walk out of your office and run free. Let passersby feed your buddy from college the occasional piece of jerky. See what the boss thinks about that. And what’s the difference? That ONE distracting layabout contributing nothing to the office has fur? Why does THAT get a pass?

Not to mention that there are people in this office who have allergies to pet dander. I’m not one of them, but boy I wish I was. I’d OWN this office after my lawsuit. You can’t turn a white collar fluorescent paradise into some low-rent animal husbandry operation! It’s disgusting! They shed and they pee on the floor and they sniff my crotch in the elevator and they FIGHT each other in the lobby! Am I the only one seeing this crap happen? We are ADULTS working at a BUSINESS, right?

That’s it. From now on I am taking a few moments each morning to smear bacon grease on my leg. If no one else is willing to stand up for the rights of people who thought getting a college degree meant NOT working in an office full of savage beasts, then I will. And when the first idiot stares off into space as their little furry angel chomps on my calf, I’ll scream the words no company wants to hear. I’ll bring the whole thing crashing down with the words guaranteed to ruin forever even the most heavily-supported company policy.

“I’m suing!”

Photos: Dogs in chairs by Flickr user Wyscan, and She's learned to sit by Flickr user quoo, both used under a Creative Commons License.