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I have an office mascot


Buddy is my little shadow. We’ve become inseparable. An energetic diminutive furball, he also serves as our unofficial office mascot.

Over a year ago, I was really struggling. I had been robbed, and the experience shook me to my core. My wife in her infinite wisdom decided I needed a little diversion. So she gave me a present I had wanted for years: a puppy. She brought home a Havashire, a cross between a Yorkshire Terrier and a Havanese, the national dog of Cuba.

Buddy is my little shadow. We’ve become inseparable. An energetic diminutive furball, he also serves as our unofficial office mascot. The staff loves him. I have no doubt if I were to pass on, there would be a custody battle over who gets my pup.

Previously from Dr. Bowling: It’s about ocular health, not sales

There are benefits to bringing your pet to work. A study from the Center for Human-Animal Interaction published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management found that dogs in the workplace may buffer the impact of stress during the workday and make the job more satisfying for those with whom they come into contact, regardless of pet ownership.1


Those with access to dogs were less stressed as the day went on than those who had none, according to the researchers. Having your pet in the workplace has been shown to boost employee morale, increase productivity and motivation.

Thousands of U.S. companies celebrate Take Your Dog to Work Day, a tradition started in 1999. This year, it is June 23.

We do impose limits. I mean, we aren’t a veterinary clinic. Buddy is clean, well-groomed, up to date on all his shots, and well-behaved. He is restricted to the lab and private offices in the back areas of the building. At no time does he come into the public areas of the office-the optical or exam rooms-and never comes into contact with the patients. In fact, they never know he is there.

Related: 7 things ODs can learn from Super Bowl

While I’ve always been somewhat of a germophobe, I carry that to an extreme whenever he is in the office. There is obsessive hand washing and use of hand and surface disinfectants, Plus, no one ever picks up the little guy during business hours. We don’t want to trigger a patient allergy.

Still, with commonsense precautions in place, a pet is great company. He gets me out of the office at lunch, otherwise I’d just sit at my desk and do paperwork. We go out into the yard to play fetch. He has me trained really well!

Does your office have a mascot? I’d love to hear tales of your furry office companions. Feel free to write at erniebowling@icloud.com.


1. Barker RT, Knisely JS, Barker SB, et al. Preliminary investigation of employee's dog presence on stress and organizational perceptions. Int J Workplace Health Management. 2012;5(1):15-30.

Read more from Dr. Bowling here

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