Rewards of working like dogs at corporate playground

Staff at a Sydney corporate office have a rooftop playground to exercise their canine companions while at work, with hopes they will soon be able to use public transport to get their pets there.

Amazon Australia has opened the playground where employees who take their pets to work as part of the company’s Dogs at Work program can stretch their legs.

Amazon workplace experience senior manager Georgia Mitchell said the playground positively changes workplace culture at the tech giant.

”Not only is this great for dogs but it also encourages our employees to step away from their desk, enjoy some fresh air and get a walk in,” she said.

Ms Mitchell said the COVID-19 lockdowns had provided the need for people to bring dogs into the office.

Research by Amazon found 69 per cent of working Australians believe dogs in an office policy would make their job more enjoyable.

It found 64 per cent of dog owners are likely to bring their dogs to the office if workplace policies allowed them.

City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore and Independent MP Alex Greenwich hope the next step is for legislation to allow companion animals on public transport without restrictions.

”It is something that we’ve been working on for many years,” Ms Moore said.

A petition with more than 10,000 signatures supporting companion friendly animal policies on public transport has been tabled in the NSW parliament.

”There is really no alternative because we don’t want them driving cars as we want to reduce fossil fuels emissions. We want people to use public transport, or if they are lucky like me they can walk with their dog,” Ms Moore said.

“We know pets bring many mental and physical health benefits. They’re vital companions and much-loved members of the family.”

As more people return to the office after the pandemic Mr Greenwich believes swifter action needs to be made to allow dogs on public transport.

Across Bass Strait it’s a case of putting dogs to work.

Zoey the labrador, a fully accredited and licenced therapy dog was sworn in at the Federal Circuit and Family Court registry in Hobart.

Zoey will provide comfort and emotional support to people during the court process, helping with communication, providing a healthy distraction from trauma responses and a physical source of calming touch.

Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia Chief Justice Will Alstergren AO said Zoey will have a positive impact on people who engage with the court system in Hobart as Melbourne-based first court dog Poppy has in a pilot.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Zoey as our official Court Therapy Dog for Tasmania, who becomes the second therapy dog to be used in Australian federal courts,” Justice Alstergren said.

“It is important that as courts we take every step to help parties with the provision of a safe and supportive court environment.

“Research already gathered and based on our own observations of Poppy and through the pilot, demonstrates that a professionally trained facility dog provides important support to people experiencing stress and offers a positive and calming distraction to an otherwise overwhelming situation.”


Nyibol Gatluak
(Australian Associated Press)


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