Dear Boss

Dear Ken,

As the owner of the West Life newspaper and our illustrious employer, you will be thrilled to know that last week, everyone in your Rocky River office was very happy and very productive. You might say we were gushy, mushy and prone to talking in a high-pitched tone reserved for talking to babies.

We hope you don’t mind, Ken, but we have added a new employee to our ranks. It is, of course, because we are thinking of you. We want to make sure we are always on top of our game and putting together the best product possible for you. Truly, it’s all for you.

The new office occupant’s name is Zelda. You will really like her! She’s pretty young — only 9 weeks old — and prone to napping mid-day. Oh, and sometimes she drools and licks. But you’ll soon see that it’s all part of Zelda’s charm.

Right now, she is only in the office part time — Wednesdays and Fridays. We hope to up that attendance to four or five days a week, depending on schedules.

Financially speaking, don’t worry, Ken. Zelda is volunteering her time. No cost to anyone!

As you might have figured out, Zelda is a puppy. She is a black Labrador cutie-pie owned by Alex Kamczyc, your reporter who covers Rocky River, Bay Village and Westlake for the newspaper.

When he first told us about Zelda and showed off her baby pictures, we gushed. You might have heard us. You were in the other room, organizing the ads on the pages for our paper that week.

As we saw pictures and heard about Zelda in the past few weeks, I had a brainstorm: office puppy! Alex kindly agreed and we all met Zelda for the first time last Wednesday. She had her little playpen so she could nap safely, and we took turns cuddling and hugging her. It was a great day.

In case you need more persuading (and once you meet her we know it will be love at first sight), I have scientific studies backing up my claim that having an office pet is a good business decision.

According to a study by Virginia Commonwealth University, as well as Central Michigan University, there are at least six reasons that the presence of a dog is good for a business.

Those advantages are:

Increased Collaboration. Gathering to gush over a pet means people are not huddled at their desks all day, communicating by email. They are actually talking.

Higher Productivity. A 2016 study by Banfield Pet Hospital found that 67% of employees who took pets to work agreed that their pets made them more productive.

Reduced Stress. This is kind of a no-brainer. VCU researchers found that pets in the workplace reduce stress, which in turn stunts absenteeism, boosts morale and limits the potential for burnout. People who work alone also reported feeling less lonely.

Easier Recruiting & Higher Retention. This is my favorite sentence from my research on pets in offices, Ken. It comes from snacknation.com: “A pet-friendly office is like a dog whistle for Millennials.”

Better Communication. Again, people are getting together and talking. Instead of water-cooler discussions, they are huddled near a puppy.

Improved Morale. Believe me, Ken. This is a thing. The VCU study found that job satisfaction increased for all employees who came in contact with office pets. Likewise, 7 out of 10 participants in the Banfield Pet Hospital study stated that “pets at work make a positive impact on office dynamics and workplace morale.”

It’s Good for the Pets, Too. Think of yourself as a humanitarian. We are doing it for Zelda, not any other selfish, we-love-puppy-breath reasons.

So in conclusion, Ken, we thank you for your generous spirit and open-mindedness. Please come and meet Zelda. We promise you will fall in love, too.

Contact this reporter at editor@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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