The Hairy Side of Business
Everyday some 78 million pet owners trudge to work
wishing they could take their beloved
pet(s) with them. In an age where many employees have difficulty
providing health insurance for their families, they readily pay premiums
to companies offering insurance policies for their pets.
Doggie insurance? Cat Catastrophe coverage?
At an average of $30.00 per month for a standard policy
these plans generally, like human insurance, pack a hefty deductible
with the best offering only 80% coverage. But many feel this is but one
way they can have peace of mind about caring for their beloved pets
University of Kentucky Psychologist Dr. Meredith Wells
believes the rational behind people’s dependency on their pets goes even
deeper than the menial purchase of a life or health insurance policy for
a pet. For some pet owners, pets replace families and cater
unconditionally to their emotional needs. She believes pets add much
more to our lives than meets the eye and set out to prove her point by
pairing animals and humans in the workplace. She found that not only do
pets reduce stress and blood pressure they also help employees to better
focus on tasks at hand, even in chaotic environments.
In a similar study The L.A. Health News reported marked
improvements in the workplace after employees joined in an experiment
allowing them to bring their pets to work. Companies reported fewer
personnel problems and less turn-over in high stress environments when
pets were allowed. Employees that were allowed to bring their pets to
work averaged longer hours with fewer complaints.
But corporate America continues to draw the line about
allowing pets in the workplace citing concerns over allergies or the
potential fear from some of being bitten. All this while increasing
performance quotas, revamping budgets and slashing bonuses. While it is
true that allergies to animals can be a major reason not to include
animals in the workplace, what is it that we have to learn from the
companies who have recognized there is a lucrative benefit the pet and
human equation? As employees or business owners might there be an
equation here that can be tapped for personal well being or profit?
Perhaps we can find the answer within our own legal
community which is taking notice of the curious effect animals have on
people. In a genre where trusts or wills commonly required
beneficiaries to have human DNA, states are now revising these laws. Pet
owners can now leave large sums of money to their pet. Tobacco heiress
Doris Duke left a reported $100,000 to her dog Rodeo and Betty White’s
will endows 5 million to her pets.
Lawyers Weekly editor Paul
Martinek estimates that "dozens if not hundreds" of pet trusts have been
set up under the new laws. The average amount left to pets is about
That sum isn’t an intangible amount and neither is the
obvious impact that our animals have on us. The hairy truth is that our
pets possess us both in and out of work.