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Peanut the office dog at Dogs’ Homes of Tasmania

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Alexandra Bray is a self-proclaimed dog-obsessed individual and working with Dogs’ Homes of Tasmania as the marketing and development manager probably shows that!

Her dog, Peanut – a six-month-old long-haired Miniature Dachshund - comes to work with her three days a week. On Thursdays and Fridays, Alexandra works from home with Peanut at her side.

“He’s a busy boy, and I don’t know how he would cope being alone all day,” says Alexandra.

“Peanut stays in our shared office most of the day, with a bed and various toys. I provide him with enrichment activities to keep him busy. We have a dog gate at the door, so he gets pats from people walking by. When we leave the office, he’s kept on a lead in case there are other dogs around. He’s fine with that.

“We have access to large, fully-fenced play yards, equipment and a Sniffari walk (dog enrichment walk) in the nearby bushland. I try to take him for a walk during my lunch break. If I can't, other staff members often step in. The surrounding bushland and gardens make toilet breaks convenient, just a few metres from the office.”

Being at the office has really helped Peanut with his socialisation, as he interacts with many people and is surrounded by typical dog noises and smells. Occasionally, he meets other dogs, usually other puppies, although this is kept to a minimum.

“I keep a treat pouch on me to reinforce positive behaviours, like calmly observing a dog walking past the office,” says Alexandra.

“As a shelter, the entire place is set up for dogs. We have access to everything we might need, including vets, behaviour trainers, enrichment equipment and a dog retail shop. The staff loves dogs and have built a relationship with Peanut. They enjoy seeing him on the days we’re in, and he often does a morning round to greet everyone and get pats. Peanut often comes along to meetings to soak up some cuddles. The staff get some lovely cuddles and so does he. Win win right?”

Alexandra describes taking Peanut to the office as a ‘lifesaver’.

“I honestly don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t bring him. Leaving him at home wouldn’t be much fun for him, and it would be too much time alone at his age. It would also be incredibly stressful for me, worrying about him being sad and waiting for me. He’s the type of dog that would be like that,” she says.

“It makes me sad to think about dogs left alone at home every day. They're with us for such a short time, and I wish more workplaces were dog-friendly.”

Not every dog enjoys an office environment, but for those that do, “it’s incredibly rewarding to have your best friend with you each day,” says Alexandra. “Sometimes it’s hard to fit in a walk before or after work. Having them at the office means you might manage it during your lunch break or on the way to or from work.”

What do Alexandra’s colleagues think of having Peanut around?

“Peanut is an absolute clown, as Dachshunds are known to be. He’s often dancing around, throwing his toys or trying to steal things (he’s a puppy), which keeps my colleagues and me laughing at his silly antics,” she says.

“Having him around truly makes for a happier and more enjoyable day. We have the pleasure of being surrounded by dogs every day, so we are quite blessed, but even though we have this pleasure, we still get some extra joy when staff dogs come in.”

Alexandra believes in having more pet friendly offices.

“I’ve worked in dog-friendly offices before, even in a corporate setting, and it was such a pleasure!” she says.

“Dogs are so good at reminding us to love life and be joyful. They lift the mood of everyone around them and increase the positive vibe in an office. Sure, you might spend a few minutes in the morning greeting them, but then everyone is in a much better headspace for the rest of the day! I have no doubt that the increased morale makes more happier, more fulfilled and subsequently more efficient/productive staff.”

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