Paw-sitive Thinking on Office Dogs

Some things are guaranteed in agency offices.

People have tidy desks, people have messy desks. Certain individuals will make fewer hot drinks than others. People will always try to subvert the meeting room booking system.

And before long, with a faint trace of optimism but an expectation that the answer will be no, someone will half-jokingly raise the question of whether “we can have an office dog”.

It doesn’t seem practical really. Dogs and offices surely don’t mix? Many team members who love their pet pooches would jump at the chance to have them at their feet as they bash away at keyboards and hit the phones. But the prospect of having an office dog remains wishful thinking.

At least, it did. Until one summer morning in the Zeno London office, a happy new face waddled in. Meet Obi (real name: Obi-Wan), our latest intern:

Obi pic_2

Let’s be clear on a few things first. Obi is not a salaried team member. He’s not client-facing. But then, he doesn’t have his own desk. In fact, since joining he has made zero effort to pitch a story or edit a video. Frankly, his performance as a communicator these past few weeks has been, erm, paw.

Obi pic_1     Obi pic_3

Obi isn’t even technically a Zeno dog. He is account director Dominique King’s sister’s French bulldog, and she has been looking after him for a few weeks. And with daytime dogcare options limited, Obi was soon signed up for the daily commute.

But as a member of the team, he has been impeccably well-behaved. Trotting in each morning, dutifully sitting (or sleeping) in a basket next to Dom’s desk, occasionally wandering around for a good sniff at her colleagues. Even getting up to meet and greet one of our clients yesterday (thanks Erica..!) and keeping watch outside the meeting room to make sure all points on the agenda were covered.

Having an office dog, even for a short period, has been an unorthodox but heart-warming experience. Obi has not been short of fans. For anyone considering or even able to contemplate something similar, here are a few things we learned:

  • Offices may not be the most interesting places for dogs, but pens to chew and new faces to flirt with more than make up for it
  • It’s strange how quickly a dog can fit in. Soon, it was odd when he wasn’t around
  • The unmistakable sound of canine snoring from floor level soon becomes quite normal and almost expected in the afternoons
  • Having a dog around the place (depending on the dog I guess) isn’t disruptive, beyond the daily stream of colleagues fussing over him, patting him, making faces at him and asking how his day was going. If anything, I could get a little jealous
  • Best to check what might be under your desk before stretching your legs during a conference call
Obi pic_4   Obi pic_5

Above all, having an office dog brought little moments of joy and plenty of smiles each day, and sparked much conversation. Thank you Obi, for bringing your power of paw-sitive thinking to the office.