Many of us spend a majority of our time at work and with that comes deadlines, responsibility and stress. However, the few companies who provide certain work perks to employees help to alleviate some of the stressors of the job. One of the best benefits an employer can offer is the ability to bring your canine pal with you to the office. The growing trend of bringing your pet(s) to work is a culture all in its own and many of the people who enjoy this perk will tell you how great it is.
So what are some of the benefits of bringing your perfect pooch to the workplace? Pets are a great stress reliever and tend to make us focus on the positive. When a workday begins to feel stressful, these pets can remind employees to take a break and have some fun. This makes for much happier employees and a more productive day! Another benefit is employees are able to get to know each other much better, creating an atmosphere of collaboration and teamwork. But hey, don’t take it from us. You can hear some first hand accounts of how awesome it is to have office pets from our friends at Ben & Jerry’s.
Ben & Jerry’s Office Pets: AKA K9-5ers
The team at Ben & Jerry’s works hard, are dedicated and passionate employees and have a fun working atmosphere. A lot of this culture is brought on by the ability to bring their best friends to work with them every day. These precious pooches, dubbed the “K9 to 5’ers” are an important part of the organization. Although there are many special pups who roam the halls and get daily treats from the front desk, we were able to get a few of them to take a break and insist their humans tell us a little about what makes them so awesome. Time to check in with Spock, Pontch, Bodhi, Max and Haddie’s lucky owners.
Lindsay Bumps & Spock:
Social Media: Instagram = @k9spock
Pet Owner: Lindsay Bumps – Public Relations Media Maven
Pet Info: Spock or “Uncle Spock” (due to the fact that he is a role model for Pontch!), French Bulldog, 5yrs (DOB – 12/4/2011)
AKA: Uncle Spock, Gremlin, Mister Spock, Spocky
“Spock is a unique dog and has more personality than any I’ve ever met! He’s my ‘right hand pooch’ and goes with me almost everywhere….including to the office everyday. On occasion, he will sit by the door on a Saturday morning, ready to go, but then I sit on the couch with my coffee and he’s diassapointed we’re not going to work. I tell him he can go without me, but he never does….! His ‘favorite words’ are ball, dinner, toy and ‘do you wanna go to (insert somewhere here)’.
He will do ANYTHING for you to throw a ball, except give it up once he has it, so we play ball with two balls. He will always drop one readily for the other 😉
He hates the cold and snow, but lives in Vermont. Silly dog! He’s a couch and bed hog and snores up a storm!”
Work Day Routine:
“We come in every morning and he promptly greets Pontch. They have a doggie door between our cubicles. SPOILED doesn’t even begin to describe their work day. It varies from snuggling with Pontch (in the same bed), to belly rubs and popcorn from a handful of coworkers who swing by daily, to walks, playtime outside, chasing a ball and knowing when it’s 5pm and we should be headed home. His internal clock is very accurate.”
“It forces me to get up at least twice a day, take a break and take Spock for a walk. His a welcome excuse to interrupt my work and take a break, not to mention his presence in my office is super calming for me. Watching him play with Pontch or be silly with his mannerisms puts a smile on my face daily.
“His bestie is Pontch. But he also gets along well with Ruby, Teddy and Bodhi. Sometimes he has a bit of a napoleon complex though…and thinks he’s bigger than he is and tries to boss around some of the other bigger office dogs, like my boss’ 120# German Shepherd. Not a good idea, Spock! Luckily Guinness is harmless and goofy so he would never hurt him!”
“For about 6 months Spock and I asked HR if we could put a doggie door in between Greta an I’s office. Finally one day they caved and said “if you buy the door, we’ll install it!” We’ve had a doggie door between our offices for easily 1.5 years and it’s the greatest ‘work perk’ ever!”
What’s the best part about sharing your workday with your pet? “Every second of it is the best and I sincerely mean that!”
Greta Barker & Pontch:
Social Media: Instagram = @pontchthefrenchie
Human: Greta Barker, Global Communications – The “voice” of Ben & Jerry’s to our franchise system and internal communications.
Pet Info: Pontchatrain Barker (known as Pontch), French Bulldog, Currently 11 months (DOB – 2/5/16)
AKA: Pontch is most commonly referred to as P.
“Pontch is a true Frenchie … he loves to kiss! If you let him, he will lick your face all day. He especially loves ears! In fact, he will be featured in the Animal Planet Puppy Bowl XIII Kiss Cam on February 5th (his 1st birthday). Video of him kissing a coworker is included in the file. He also has a unique head bobble when he gets excited.”
Work Day Routine:
“Pontch loves coming to work every day! Each morning he has a routine where he stops in each of his favorite coworkers offices to say good morning and get a few kisses in. Once in my office he spends the day cuddling and playing with Spock. During the afternoon a group email goes out about organizing a time where some of the pups can all go play outside together. On the way home he scavenges the hallway looking for an kernel of popcorn that could have been dropped. (Yes, we have a popcorn maker in the office!)”
“Since I got Pontch I have had an opportunity to get to know some of my coworkers much better. It’s given me an opportunity to talk with people I wouldn’t normally interact within my normal scope of daily work. I have people stop by my office to see him and I also have had the opportunity to chat with other coworkers who have dogs.”
“There isn’t a dog here that he doesn’t get along with. But his best pal is suite mate, Spock (or uncle Spock as he likes to call him). With a dog door between their two offices, they get to spend each and every day together fighting over who gets to lick our breakfast yogurt containers, who gets more belly rubs from visitors and of course snuggling in bed together!”
“This year we (Lindsay, Spock, Pontch and I) won the Runner Up Champion in our Ben & Jerry’s Annual Halloween Contest for all dressing up as Trekkies.”
What’s the best part about sharing your workday with your pet? “I love that he forces me to stop and take a few breaks throughout the day. I snuggle and kiss or a walk outside to enjoy the weather.”
Sarah Badger & Bodhi:
Social Media: @sbadger802 (although not Bodhi-specific)
Human: Sarah Badger, Global Content & Community Manager – Leads production of global content for digital marketing and social media – photography, video, blogs. Unofficial title: Ice Cream Pornographer
Pet Info: Bodhi (short for Bodhisattva, named after a Steely Dan song), Pug, age 3
AKA: “The gremlin”
“Oh, she’s special alright. I’ve never had a pug before, but some pug owners have told me she’ll settle down by age 10…maybe. She’s a rambunctious little gremlin who is mostly interested in snacks and laps. She’s a professional snuggler, which is great in VT in the winter…but the snoring can be a lot to take. She has the personality of a big dog in a tiny package. I don’t think she has any idea how small she is, and prefers to run around with the big dogs. There are a few Ben & Jerry’s employees that she is absolutely in love with, and gets more excited to see them than she’s ever been to see me. She also has very crooked teeth, which means she gets various types of snaggle-tooth situations, including my favorite where her tongue gets stuck poking out. It’s a face only a mother could love.”
Work Day Routine:
“She comes in with me every day, and immediately tries to make a break for Vee Vee at the front desk (where the cookies are), but she has food allergies, so most of the time she’s left looking disappointed as we head towards my desk. She has a few stops along the way, including a smooch-fest with Ruby (a golden puppy), and a stop at Claudette’s desk (who sits across from me). Claudette’s one of her favorite people, and she’s always looking for a good scratch. If Claudette isn’t here, she’ll stand in the hallway in protest until someone else is willing to give her some attention. She snoozes for a good part of the day, with some random rolling around and gremlin noises from time to time. She likes to get outside for a little puppy romp, before getting back to her important nap work. When she’s bored, she’ll hop up in my lap to continue her nap, and snore on my arm as I attempt to keep working. She has a very precise internal clock, and likes to remind me when it’s time to leave work…so that she can go home and eat dinner.”
“One of the best things about bringing your pet to work is how many other people in the office enjoy their presence. I think it boosts interaction among my co-workers, and I end up chatting with people I may not normally interact with simply because I’m either walking with Bodhi down the hall, or because some folks will stop by just to say hi to her. There’s a friendly vibe that comes from animals, and it disarms some people who may not normally be as extroverted as others. When we have visitors in the office, it’s not uncommon for them to get the “dog tour” while they’re here, and come around to meet some of our K9-5’ers. It’s a great way to spark conversations and meet new people. Plus, the dogs just bring happiness to our office. Who doesn’t love petting a happy puppy?”
“She’s got a few buddies, and a unique way of interacting with each of them. She likes to make out with a couple of them, which is pretty cute. She gets VERY excited to play with other dogs, and some of the older dogs want nothing to do with that, so they’ll ignore her. It drives her crazy. If she could talk, she’d be all like, “hey!! HEY!! Look at me!! Let’s be friends!! Why aren’t you looking at MEEEEE??”
“Shortly after I adopted her, Scoop U was in session. This is ice cream university for new franchisee owners, and during that time they open up our in-office Scoop Shop, where you can get whatever you want for $1. I got some Peanut Butter Banana Greek Frozen Yogurt (now a retired flavor), and saved a little bit at the bottom of my cup for Bodhi. She loved it, but then had a little bit of a sugar-high moment, chased her tail faster than I’d ever seen, went a little nuts, and then promptly fell asleep when the sugar crash set in. It was hilarious to watch. This was the first time she’d had ice cream, and the LAST.”
What’s the best part about sharing your workday with your pet? “Having my dog at work with me is great for so many reasons. I adopted her as a puppy, and I may not have been able to if it weren’t for our dog-friendly office. She’s able to be with me all day, rather than bored at home while I’m working or at doggy daycare. She gets to interact with plenty of other dogs, and she has a routine every day. For me, if I’m ever stressed out because of work, I just have to look down at her ridiculous face or play with her a bit, and I’m immediately less stressed. It’s also great to be around other dog owners to talk about everything from behaviors to allergies, and just share funny stories of what our dogs do from time to time. A bonus is that during the winter here in Vermont it gets pretty cold in our office from time to time. I just have to let Bodhi sit in my lap, and instantly I’ve got a little heater to warm me up.”
Amanda Stasiowski, Jarod Charron & Max:
Social Media: N/A
Human(s): Amanda Stasiowski, Retail Training Program Manager (a.k.a. Dean of Scoop University) – Amanda handles anything and everything related to Operations & Training. She oversees Scoop U and Scoop U Online, along with managing the Global Operations Manual for Ben & Jerry’s. She manages all training materials and edits lots and lots of things!
Jarod Charron has a few different roles. Most recently he was the Manager of the Burlington Flagship store, but now he works on making sure budgets are in line for the Company Owned stores here in Vermont and that everything is being reported and tracked correctly. He also works with the Ben & Jerry’s supply chain and logistics team to make sure our franchisees get the products they need to run successful scoop shops.
Both Mom & Dad work at the office, so Max is pretty lucky!
Pet Info: Max, English Shepherd, Age 3 on March 15th!
AKA: “Max, Maximus, Maximus James (not really his middle name…)”
“He’s kind of a shy/sensitive guy- not afraid of things he should be afraid of, afraid of things he shouldn’t be afraid of… He’s very routine- he knows when it’s time to leave for work in the morning, and reminds me when it is time to go home. At night, we ask him if he is ready for “night nights” and he knows to go outside first, then runs straight to his bed.
He had an overbite when he was a puppy- he has since grown out of it, but it was pretty funny! He has a very long nose now…
He loves his Golden Girls! He has a thing for golden retrievers… Annie… Haddie… Ruby… Hazel. Annie was his first love here, but her mom has since moved on. Annie started it all! Haddie made her move not long after Annie left.”
Work Day Routine:
“Once we get to my office in the morning, Max immediately goes to his water bowl. He loves his water. We head outside to play with Haddie and maybe some other friends around 10:30. I swear Max knows when Sammy asks if I’m ready to go outside- he has a sixth sense, standing behind me and crying. After we go outside, he lays under my desk at my feet. Some friends stop by to say hi during the day, then Max is ready to go outside with Haddie again by 2:30. He goes from his bed, to the middle of my office, back to his bed, under my desk throughout the day.”
“It’s just fun to have the dogs around!”
“Of course! Haddie is his #1 though. He also loves when Greg comes by to throw him popcorn, or when Lorraine comes by to give him some love! He likes his play dates with Ruby and Hazel (both Goldens!), and Monkey, too. “
“Max loves to be outside, so in the summer we always walk to the Whale’s Tails. He loves the freedom of being off his leash and loves to romp around in the fields (and chase Haddie!). We went a few times in the summer before they mowed the fields down. The fields were about 4 ft tall and all you could see was Max and Haddie leaping in the air to get through.”
What’s the best part about sharing your workday with your pet? “It’s just nice to have him with me. He’s a great stress reliever! He loves going to the office and the attention he gets.”
Sammy Sweeney & Haddie:
Social Media: N/A
Human: Sammy Sweeney- Consumer Data Analyst and Retail Specialist- Sammy gets to chat with our fans about how much they love Ben & Jerry’s ice cream! She also spends a lot of time sorting through excel and making data understandable and relatable for everyone in the business.
Pet Info: Haddie, Golden Retriever, 2 years old (Birthday: July 21st)
AKA: Haddie’s human friend Victoria calls her “Smiles”, but at home she is also known as Hadster, Boo Boo, Princess Girlie…. The list goes on
“Haddie is a big flirt. Whenever someone comes up to her gate at Sammy’s cube she squints her eyes, smiles big and wags her tail furiously… who can resist that?? She constantly needs and wants attention and she is always finding some way to get it… even if that means ripping up her entire dog bed while Sammy is at the office gym.
Haddie has a strange fear of anything with wheels- she really doesn’t like bikes and she barks whenever she hears the office carts rolling by- nothing has ever happened to her to make her fear wheels, but nonetheless she can’t stand them.
Like Max, Haddie knows when it is bed time- every night she receives 3 bed time carrots when she lays on her bed like she is supposed to. After she wolfs those down she hops up onto bed and lays with mom and dad for a couple hours, then retreats to her own bed. Haddie is in love with Max. When Max is around no other dog matters… it’s pretty cute.”
Work Day Routine:
“When we get to the office haddie immediately goes to my co-worker, Julie’s desk. After some tail wagging and petting we go into my cube. Around 10:30 Haddie and Max (and some other friends) have a big playdate in the front of the office. After playing (and Max herding Haddie around), Haddie and Max race to the receptionist to grab a cookie from the treat jar. Haddie then takes a nap and we go out again for another romp around 2:30.”
“It’s nice to have dogs to break the ice and make people smile”
“Haddie loves Max (obviously), but she also likes to play with Ruby, Hazel and Bodhi. She loves Ruby’s dad, Justin, but can really make friends with any human in the office.”
“Haddie and Max were playing outside together one day, and Amanda and I started watching them hide from each other behind a tree. One would poke their head out the one side, and the other would go to the other side. They were playing a little game of peek a boo together and it was really really adorable.”
What’s the best part about sharing your workday with your pet? “She is a great companion throughout the day and no matter what kind of day I am having, she is always there smiling in my cube when I get there!”