Our poor HR person heard that a LOT yesterday. "Did you know there is a dog in the office? Why is there a dog in the office? Did you know there was a dog in the break room? Did you know there is a DOG wandering around the office?"
Apparently, Monster caused a little bit of a stir in the office yesterday. Though, most of the people that we spoke to were glad to see him and thought he was beautiful, sweet and very well behaved.
Our HR person had to keep telling those who did not like the idea of Monster being in the office that he is a service dog and that means that legally, he is allowed anywhere in a public building that his handler is allowed. That means the rest rooms, the break room, the production floor, the conference and class rooms, the lobby, the fitness center, basically everywhere by the men's room and men's locker room, and then, only on the basis that his handler is a female.
"But what about people who are allergic to dogs!?"
"What about people who are allergic to perfume? If you sit near where the dog will be and you can prove that you have an allergy to dogs, we will move your desk as an accommodation to your allergies. However, legally, I cannot ask her not to bring her registered service dog into the office."
"Well, what if I am not satisfied with that? WHat if I feel like having to work with a dog in the building makes this a hostile work place for me?"
"What about the fact that if she cannot bring her service dog into the office, which she has the legal right to do, she can say she feels that she is being openly discriminated against and that her civil rights are being violated? If you do not like the place you work, you need to make the decission if it is worth continuing to work here becaue a disabled employee has a service dog and is bringing him to work with her. He is not a guard dog. He is a mobility assistance dog. He helps her with balance and walking."
"Well why can't she just use a cane or her walker? Why does she need to have a dog help her?"
"Why do you drive the kind of car that you drive, or eat the type of lunches and dinners that you eat? Why do you wear contacts instead of glasses? That's the same as asking her why she chooses to work with a service dog instead of relying on a walker. You can't decide what she should or should not do."
"So, you are just going to let her bring an animal in here and let it wander all over the office and make God knows what type of mess?"
"No, I am going to let her bring her service dog to the office with her and let her be responsible for where the dog goes or cleaning up after his messes, like a responsible animal handler. If she cannot control the dog, then I will ask her not to bring him back. I will tell you that she and I have gone over the expectations of her service dog and I have met him. I don't anticipate any problems from the dog."
Monster was a perfect gentleman yesterday. He never barked, growled, sniffed, or anything else that he should not have done. The break room, lobby and outside of the building are designated "non-working" areas for him so that people who want to interact with him can. Anywhere there is carpeting in the office is considered a "work area" and he is not to be distracted or approached without my ok. Monster picked up on that pretty quickly. His tail started wagging and he started to wiggle when we walked into the break room yesterday. He played with Garion and Laney, my son and daughter, during their lunch breaks and he let me know when he had to go outside. Otherwise, I took him out any time I had a break. The rest of the time, he sat/laid/slept next to my desk or under it. He did snore, but that was the only sound out of him the whole time he was here. I had his favorite chew toy with us, in case he got bored, as well as some treats. There is a bowl in my cubicle for his water. He don't need to be fed while he is here because I feed him 2 times a day, in the morning before work, and at dinner time in the evening.
I have arranged with the office that we will start out with just 2 days a week in the office and add more days as he gets bigger/goes through more training. That way people will get used to seeing him.
So, Monster staid home this morning. I actually had people asking me where he was and looking disappointed when I told them that he was staying home today.
I don't think there are a lot of people who were upset that Monster was here, they were just very vocal about their objections. They, too, will get used to him and will discover that he is a very calm, even tempered, well mannered service dog. I don't think he will have too many opponents for very long.