I missed this one by a couple of days – apparently the local version of Take Your Dog to Work Day (TYDTWD) was last Wednesday – and the biggie – the US one – was last Friday. Oh well, maybe next year…

Shorty Japanangka XXX a painting and (some of) his dogs...
Dogs at work - Shorty Jangala Roberston, a painting and (some of) his dogs...

I’m pretty sure that our new PM Julia Gillard doesn’t have a dog but I reckon that every woman – and man – needs a dog’s shoulder to cry on at the end of a long day in the trenches.

Lat Friday was International Take Your Dog To Work Day and I reckon that every workplace – even the highest office in the land – should have a dog – and take it to work, if not every day then at least a couple of days a year and most certainly on TYDTWD.

With renowned canine cartoonist FirstDogOnTheMoon squatting in the corner every day in the office Crikey is already well ahead of the pack but – to paraphrase H. G. & Roy – “Too many dogs are never enough!”

And this silly but somehow engaging video gives you Ten reasons to Take Your Dog to Work…

TTDTWD was started in the US by the animal-care industry group Pet Sitters International in 1999 and has gone from strength to strength since then, with thousands of workplaces participating in the scheme.

Pet Sitters International says that TYDTWD encourages:

“…employers to experience the value of pets in the workplace, even if just for one day! Ultimately, it’s about encouraging pet adoptions from shelters, humane societies and rescue groups.”

A 2006 survey of pet owners and businesses by the American Pet Products Association found that:

* 55 million Americans believe having pets in the workplace leads to a more creative environment

* 53 million believe having pets in the workplace decreases absenteeism

* 50 million believe having pets in the workplace helps co-workers get along better

* 38 million believe having pets in the workplace creates a more productive work environment

* 32 million believe having pets in the workplace decreases smoking in the workplace

* 37 million believe having pets in the workplace helps improve the relationship between managers and their employees

* And, 46 million people who bring their pets to the workplace work longer hours

I have my doubts about some of those figures but we do know that Americans love their companion animals – and surely there can’t be much wrong with spreading the love?

One of the most dog-friendly workplaces I’ve been to, and one where dogs are on the job every day, is Warlukurlangu Artists at Yuendumu, 300km from Alice Springs.

Whitey the art guard dog in front of an Ena Nakamarra Gibson painting
Whitey the art guard dog in front of an Ena Nakamarra Gibson painting

Warlukurlangu is a collective of Aboriginal artists that operates out of a modest office and gallery and where often the number of dogs exceeds the number of artists and staff.

Cecilia Alfonso is Warlukurlangu’s manager and shares her life and work with Maliki – an ageing and massive mongrel with some a wonderful, if sloppy, nature and some unfortunate predilections.

Paddy XXX Lewis and assistant at work
Paddy Japanangka Lewis and assistant at work

Cecilia told The Northern Myth that:

“I take my dog Maliki to work every day – and I’m glad that the artists do as well. The only days that I leave Maliki at home is when he has a bad dose of the farts – they are truly horrible. One of our senior artists, Shorty Jangala Robertson lost his wife a couple of years ago and his dogs are like his close family now and they come to work at the arts centre with him everyday.

“Having the dogs at the Arts centre is good for the artists and the dogs – they get a place to have a feed and a rest in the shade, socialize with all the other dogs in town and we can also make sure that they get any medical treatment as part of our long-standing Dog Control program. It’s a good thing – apart from the farts of course!”

Liddy Napanangka Walker & Franky
Liddy Napanangka Walker & Franky

If you have a good TYDTWD stories or photos send them in and I’ll post them here, and if any bosses out there reckon that you can’t bring Fido or Fidette to work for the day tomorrow tell ‘em straight out to “Get a Dog Up Ya!”

PS: All of the photos in this post come from the wonderful folks at Warlukurlangu Artists at Yuendumu.