A beautiful dog from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

The surprising benefits of having a dog in the office

Having a pet at home can be good for your health, but growing evidence suggests there are similar benefits to having a dog in the office.

An office dog encourages workers to get up from their desk space and be more active during the day – the risks of sitting for too long include obesity, Type-2 diabetes and, in some cases, early death.

Mentally, research posits that having a dog at work is calming and reduces stress, and has even been linked to increased productivity.

The Le Bureau office space just happens to be round the corner from one of the most iconic pet charities in the country: Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. Several of Le Bureau’s members have given homes to former BDCH residents – the lovely Cleo featured in these photos is just one. We caught up with Rob Young, the London Centre Manager for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home to discover more about what they do, how the adoption process works and whether having a dog in the office really is a good idea.

What’s the history behind Battersea Dogs & Cats Home?

The charity was founded by Mary Tealby in 1860, making Battersea Dogs & Cats Home one of the UK’s oldest animal rescue centres. Since opening, the charity has cared for more than 3.1 million dogs and cats. Originally called The Temporary Home for Lost and Starving Dogs and based in Holloway, London, it moved to its now famous site in Battersea in 1871 and started taking in cats in 1883. We changed our name from Battersea Dogs Home to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home back in 2002.

Why do people bring dogs and cats to the home?

There are many different reasons; around 29% of the 7,000 animals are brought in as strays and the rest are brought in from their owners. The most common reason is a change of circumstances for the owner: accommodation (like the landlord not allowing pets) or moving abroad; they’re unable to afford vet bills or simply for personal reasons.

We always advise people to make an appointment with us to bring their dogs or cats in rather than abandoning them. It means we get more information about the pet, what they like and don’t like, and any quirks – this will help us to find new homes. We are here to help and we never judge.

 What are the most common breeds you take in?

Battersea takes in a lot of Staffordshire Bull Terriers. We’re great fans of Staffies here, as we know they’re very loving dogs.

We also get quite a lot of Greyhounds – often they’re ex-racers and are no longer ‘needed’. We currently have many Greyhounds who are still looking for homes. They make the ideal first pet as they’re very chilled and easy, they don’t need as much exercise as people often think they do. They’ve done all that – they’re just looking for a cosy home to relax in now.

Like this? Read Why co-working improves your work life balance

What’s a typical day for the team?

There really isn’t a typical day at Battersea. The work we do is so varied and different, which is part of the appeal of working here. It all depends on the dogs and cats.

Most of our staff who work directly with the animals will start with their early morning rounds, cleaning the kennels and pens; checking up on each animal and giving them breakfast.

We take the dogs out for individual toilet breaks and a run round then get everything ready for when the centre opens to the public at 10:30am everyday.

The rest of the day is all dependent – some will be getting the animals ready to go home if they are scheduled to be collected, some may have to go to the Clinic on site for operations. Some dogs, require one-to-one training with our specialist teams to work on their training and socialisation.

Do any of the animals you’ve cared for stand out in your mind?

I have very fond memories of many dogs and cats, but the one that stands out most is Enid, a British Bulldog who came in as a stray in a terrible state. She had a severely undershot jaw, bad skin, thickened ears from months of infections, a deformed hip joint and was allergic to everything from pollen to different types of food. In spite of all this, she was such a friendly and sociable little dog that was so lovable (although a bit smelly from her infected skin!)

She was looked after by the veterinary team here and taken on foster by a member of staff – the prognosis for Enid wasn’t good, but thankfully she responded well to treatment. Enid was eventually adopted by her foster carer as she just couldn’t give her back! I get to see her now and again and she’s a fantastic reminder of all the great work that Battersea does. 

For anyone considering adopting a dog or cat, how does the process work?

The best advice can be found on our website and you can also register with us.

We take in as much information as we can so that we can help as much as we can. It’s about finding the right people for the dogs and cats as much as it’s about finding the right pet for them.

People are welcome to visit any of the three sites (London, Old Windsor and Brands Hatch) during opening hours and take a look at the dogs and cats available for rehoming. Some will be on the website too.

If there’s a match, we ask all members of the household to meet the dog or cat first to check that everyone is in agreement with each other about the potential new addition. It can take some time before the right one comes along, or it could take one day – it’s really all dependent on the people and the dogs at that moment in time. The main advice is to be patient. 

Finally, what do you see as the benefits to having a dog in the office?

Here at Battersea, we obviously see the benefits of having animals in the workplace. We take dogs into our offices from time to time, as this helps the dogs get out of kennels too.

The staff love it when dogs are in the office as this helps break up the day and gets people away from computers, whether it be taking them out for walks, or just giving them some attention and belly rubs. It cheers everyone up when there’s a four legged friend running about or sleeping next to you while you work, it really reminds our staff why we’re all here and doing what we do.

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