Take your Shih Tzu to Work by Jamie Anderson |Published 06-30-2020
It can be heartbreaking to leave your little buddy alone by him or herself when you go to work. This is especially true since Shih Tzu love human companionship. They don't do all that well when left alone for long periods.
There is also the fact that your pup may have gotten used to having you at home over these last few months. Due to the lock down, you probably spent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with your dog. So, now that you have to go back to work, it can be particularly traumatic for them.
Or, it could be that your pooch is more than just a furry companion for you – he or she is instrumental to your emotional health. In any case, you and your Shih Tzu may not be looking forward to this separation. So, what can you do to avoid it?
More specifically, is there a way for you to take your Shih Tzu to work with you? Well, there isn't a straightforward answer to this for several reasons. These include company policies, as well as your pet's capabilities and comfort level.
Therefore, if you want to get a clear picture of this subject, you need to be aware of all the facts. Let's get started on this.
First and foremost, you have to consider the safety of your Shih Tzu. Thus, you need to consider whether your workplace is safe for your pooch. Carefully consider the space that you are working in. What is the air quality like? Is there enough sunshine coming into the room? Are there unsafe elements in your workplace, such as wiring, chemicals, etc.?
You may also want to think about whether your workplace will be comfortable for your pup. For instance, if you work in a crowded, noisy environment with people always moving around, then your Shih Tzu may not like this all that much. In fact, people may end up tripping over him and her all day long.
Another point to ponder is if your workplace can cater to all your pup's needs. Is it possible to set up a bed in your workspace where your Shih Tzu can snuggle up? Is there an appropriate space outside of your office where you can take your pup to relieve him or herself?
Indeed, Shih Tzu don't require all that much space for themselves. Nevertheless, it is unfair to keep them cooped up in a tiny area around their desk. Your dog will be far happier if they can do a little bit of exploring or walk around the space a bit.
These questions are important. So, before you make any other plans, take an honest look at your workspace. After all, there is little use in dragging your Shih Tzu to a space that is not meant for them.
Needless to say, you can't take your Shih Tzu to work if your company doesn't approve of this arrangement. Around 64 percent of organizations don't have pet policies in place. This means that there may not be a precedent for you to follow.
Due to this, there is a good chance that you will have to approach your HR or employer to put forth such an idea. Although this can seem like a rather daunting option, there is a silver lining. Understand, there are now a greater number of millennials in the workplace.
And, this demographic is more likely to have a pet than others. Many millennials are opting for pups instead of children. As such, they have a greater bond with their pets and would prefer to bring them to work if possible.
Thus, if your company is comprised of younger employees, you may just find it easier to convince them to allow you to bring your Shih Tzu to work. At the same time, you should be aware that companies do have some reservations about pups.
For one thing, there are afraid of lawsuits stemming from the presence of animals in the workplace. Imagine that an employee is bitten in the workplace by another employee's dog – there is a good chance that the company could be held liable.
There is also the fact that animals can decrease the level of cleanliness in a workspace. Now, your Shih Tzu is not much of a shedder, and so they won't leave hair all over the place. However, if the company approves the request, this does open the door for other dogs to also be let in. There is no guarantee that these dogs will be as neat as your Shih Tzu.
Last but not least, some companies may assume that dogs may cause a distraction in the workplace. This, of course, could be because certain pups are hyperactive or destructive. Nevertheless, even well-behaved dogs can be a tad bit distracting. After all, who can resist petting and playing with an adorable fluff ball?
Unless you work by yourself, you have to think about your colleagues as well. Not everyone will be as thrilled about your Shih Tzu as you are. Thus, you have to take their feelings – and health concerns – into consideration as well.
Keep in mind that dog allergies and breathing problems are fairly common. Hence, if any of your colleagues are allergic to dogs or similar health concerns, you can't keep your Shih Tzu close to them. This is especially true if your workplace is a rather small one or if you need to consult with your fellow employees regularly.
It should also be noted that many people are afraid of dogs – yes, even ones as small and as adorable as Shih Tzus. A surprising number of people haven't grown up around dogs and, as such, may be wary around them. Others have had negative interactions with other dogs and stay clear of all pups as a rule.
All this means that you will have to consult your colleagues before bringing your Shih Tzu to work. If they do have any concerns or objections, you may have to end up going by their judgments.
Let's say that your company is on the fence about letting your Shih Tzu come to work. How can you nudge them in the right direction?
Now, can your Shih Tzu be considered an emotional support animal? For example, has a psychologist suggested that you keep your furry companion close to you to improve your mental health? If so, this could be your foot in the door.
Unlike with service animals, emotional animals don't enjoy the same workplace advantages under the law. Still, some places may make an exception. Of course, this is provided that you can prove that your Shih Tzu is detrimental to your health.
You should be aware that there has been some derision towards emotional support animals over the past few years. This is because many people have abused these privileges. As such, there is a possibility that your company may assume that you are "faking it".
This is why you need proper evidence to back your claims up. This involves applying for an ESA letter. When you do this, you can show proof that a mental health specialist has approved your Shih Tzu as an emotional support dog.
Some agencies also have a registry. This way, if your employer has any doubts about your claims, they can simply run the necessary checks for themselves. In doing so, they can get greater assurance about your pup.
To ease their minds even further, put together a portfolio for your Shih Tzu. This could include medical records, such as vaccination logs. If your pup has ever been to an obedience class or any kind of training, you can show proof of this as well. You may want to film your dog at home or interacting with other people to give your employers an idea of what he or she is really like.
You should know that with proper evidence, your employer or the HR department shouldn't disregard your application immediately. If there is a legitimate reason for your dog to come to work with you, these individuals should carefully consider your request.
In turn, they will need to come up with an appropriate reason or concern as to why your Shih Tzu can't come to work with you. At the end of the day, the answer will depend on the company culture as well as the type of work being done.
There are just so many factors at play here. Hopefully, the information provided will make it easier to determine whether or not you can take your pup to your workplace. Good luck with this!
Jamie Anderson has been a dog trainer for over a decade. She has particular expertise in training and working with service dogs. During this time, she has gained experience in both the physical, emotional, and legal elements of service dogs and their counterparts. When she isn't working, Jamie enjoys helping people work with their service animals more closely.