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Barefoot Works




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 $25,000.”

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.




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