Leadership

More than 6,000 dogs 'work' at Amazon, where every day is 'Take Your Dog to Work Day'

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Coming home to your dog is great, but bringing your four-legged friend to work is even better.

Today, dog owners can rejoice as companies celebrate the 20th annual Take Your Dog to Work Day. The event, which always takes place the Friday after Father's Day, was started by Pet Sitters International, the educational association for professional pet sitters, as a way to celebrate the great companions dogs make and promote dog adoptions.

The first ever Take Your Dog to Work Day in 1999 saw an estimated 300 businesses participate. While the holiday is a once-a-year event for some organizations, it's an every day occurrence at Amazon.

At the retail giant's Seattle-based headquarters, human employees share their work space with approximately 6,000 pups on any given day, the company announced on their blog.

These furry friends have one particular dog to thank for their employment opportunity: Rufus. During Amazon's early years, a husband and wife team brought their Welsh corgi to the office, and he immediately won the hearts of fellow employees, according to the company.

Most importantly, Rufus was also a hard worker and "Amazonians" used his paw to click links on the company website. The dog has since passed away, but his legacy remains. Amazon states that there are photos of Rufus around the 8.1 million-square-foot campus, and he even has a building named after him.

Rufus made such an impact that if you click a broken link and land on an error page, his picture appears, along with three other dogs that followed in his "paw" steps, says Amazon, Lucy the Labrador, Sherriff the golden-Aussie mix and Martini the papillon.

While some of Amazon's human employees receive daily catered lunches and happy hour Fridays, these pups get access to some nifty perks as well. Not only do they get to spend the day with their owners, plus receive all the belly rubs a dog could ask for, they're able to snag dog treats at every reception desk in the company.

Amazon also has a doggie deck for pets to run around on their 17th floor. It boasts a fake fire hydrant, dog relief areas and water stations. Additionally, the company offers a leash-free dog park where pups can play on rocks and other structures.

On Halloween, employees and their dogs can bond at Barktoberfest, where dog costumes have ranged from John Snow to unicorns.

Now, you may be wondering who the dogs report to at the office. That person is none other than Lara Hirschfield, Amazon's "Woof Pack" Manager.

"Dogs in the workplace is an unexpected mechanism for connection," says Hirschfield. "I see Amazonians meeting each other in our lobbies or elevators every day because of their dogs."

She may have a point. A Central Michigan University study found that that the presence of a dog in a group office setting encouraged subjects to be more cooperative, communicative and friendly than in groups where there was no dog.

Additionally, though that number is still fairly small, more and more companies are allowing dogs in the office. The Society for Human Resources reports that 7 percent of employers allow pets in the workplace, up from 4 percent in 2014.

Many tech companies use pet-friendly workplaces to attract millennials, including Google, Salesforce and Etsy. According to Glassdoor, these companies may be on to something. The job site lists the five benefits of bringing your pet to work: stress relief, work-life balance, collaboration, employee wellness and retention and recruiting.

Hirschfield notes that this information isn't new to Amazon. "Amazon has been dog-friendly since Day 1," she says on the company's blog. "Our dogs add to the fun, dynamic energy of our workplace."

As for Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, there's no word on whether he currently owns a dog, but he did kick off the company's annual robotics conference by taking this special pup for a walk.

This is an updated version of a story that appeared previously.

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