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Canine colleagues in the office good for mental health

Canine colleagues in the office good for morale, meetings and mental health

Frog Recruitment launches its annual NZ’s Top Office Dog competition

The search for the country’s best canine colleague opens today, running through until 13 September, after which one lucky canine will win a prize pack and the revered title of New Zealand’s Top Office Dog.

Frog Recruitment Director Jane Kennelly says the competition highlights the benefits of bringing a dog to work.

“It’s well documented that allowing pets, particularly dogs, in the office is not just helping out their owners, it’s bringing positive benefits to the workplace including improved moral, reduced absenteeism and stress-related illnesses, and is helping with improving employees’ mental health.”

A study by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University found employees who were around dogs in the workplace reported feeling less stressed than employees who have dogs but left them at home, and that pets also triggered workplace interactions that would not normally have taken place. They also found that simply petting a dog can increase the levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decrease production of the stress hormone cortisol.

Closer to home, the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand is trying to get more pets into our workplaces due to the health benefits of animal companionship. The Foundation’s chief executive Shaun Robinson says there is evidence to support what people feel instinctively – that having pets around the office makes us feel happier and more relaxed.

“Feeling happy and relaxed flows on to how we work and relate. I know in my own experience that when staff bring dogs into the office it makes the whole place a more emotionally warm environment and expresses that we are fully human at work,” he says.

In 2015, Frog surveyed 31 companies representing more than 7,000 employees and found more than half (55%) of those companies regularly had canine visitors. Frog’s survey prompted the company to create the Top Office Dog competition, which is now in its third year.

Judging will be undertaken by sponsor Animates and Frog Recruitment along with a celebrity judge, with the winner announced on 18 September.

To enter, like Frog Recruitment on Instagram, upload a picture of your workplace dog using the hashtag #nztopdog. Include the name of the dog, business name and reason for nomination in the comments box.

The prize package includes Southern Cross Pet Insurance PetCare Bronze Ribbon cover for 12 months, Travel Wags tote bag, $500 Animates voucher, one year’s supply of Simparica Flea Treatment courtesy of Zoetis, $250 Mr Soft Top vouchers, doggles and the coveted NZ Top Office Dog trophy.

Last year’s winner, Alfie the Jack Russell, beat 63 other canines to win the 2016 prize.

“I work at Western Bay of Plenty District Council in Tauranga. I'm the council's official spokesdog. I represent all dogs in the district and have been the face of our recent dog control policy review. My friendly face has helped us build relationships with dog owners across the district better than ever before. I take part in all aspects of work life - and am loved by over 250 staff,” woofed the pooch.


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