I’ve got to admit it: we have it pretty good. Here at Polka Dog Bakery we work in a place that is literally stuffed 10 hours a day seven days a week with dogs: big dogs, little dogs, barky dogs, shy dogs, puppy dogs, senior dogs, every possible breed and size and shape you could possibly imagine. It’s like every day we’re in the middle of our own cartoon, and Dr. Suess and Dave Barry are writing the script.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about dogs, more than I usually do, which is already a lot, and not just about what they eat or what dog treats are good for them, but how they effect our lives, how they shape our personalities, how we can learn from them and how we should aspire to be more like them.
I read a post on Fast Company the other day - Pooch Power: What Dog-Friendly Workplaces Can Do For Your Business - by a guy and a dog named Louie that tried to take a stab at quantifying just what dogs do for us, what they can teach us, and why they are such special creatures, especially as it relates to the workplace.
For instance: taking a walk.
“This has got to be the most important thing Louie has taught me. When he doesn’t get enough exercise he’s a ball of energy, and not the good kind–nervous, unproductive energy that keeps both of us from focusing. So a couple times a day Louie and I take a hike around the block or a spin through the park. I’m amazed at how often these short jaunts result in a good idea. It’s because for that brief time, I’m not over-thinking whatever I’m working on; my brain has a chance to wander. Plus it’s all around healthy for you: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity physical activity to decrease the risk of developing diseases such as type-2 diabetes. That’s like two dog walks.”
Or how about this:
“I’m sure you’re having a stressful day–but bad moods are contagious and your sour looks spread to others. See, every time I look over at Louie, he’s got a winning smile for me–eyes that light up the room. That’s a powerful tool. And you’ve got it, too, if only you’d use it.
That’s not to say you have to fake unrelenting cheer, but much scientific research sings the praises of a simple smile, showing that people who frequently smile are perceived as more in control and attractive, that grinning can help your health, well-being, and the mood of those around you. When you lift someone else’s spirits it’s something they won’t soon forget. And even Louie knows that to get what you want–in his case a Milk-Bone–it can’t hurt to look cute.”
It’s an overused cliché. Be more like your dog. But, honestly, the longer I’m around them, the more and more I agree. I mean, what better greeting is there after a long day at the office than a smiling dog, wagging it’s tail and just so very happy to see you again. Whatever the day has dropped in your lap, whatever troubles you left at your desk on our your voicemail or bulging inbox, you dog is just thrilled by the simple fact that you came back, that you are home, that the unit is back together.
Kids are like this. Kids and dogs. It’s amazing how parallel the lines are these two species actually walk. No baggage, no worry, no pretentions, just an overwhelming happiness at being alive and being able to be close to the ones they love.
So, if you can’t bring your dog to work like we can at Polka Dog Bakery, the next time you’re sitting at your desk, cursing the boss underneath your breath for the stack of overdue projects he’s just dropped in your lap, on a Friday, the day before vacation, at 4:30pm, do like Louie: take a deep breath, wag your tail a couple of times, and sink in your teeth.
Soon enough, the day will be over and you’ll be heading home to the best greeting in the world, and a furry friend that just can’t wait to get outside and take a walk.