Take your dog to work day doesn't work for all dogs

Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- Gov. Tony Knowles proclaimed Friday ''Take Your Dog to Work Day,'' but some state administrators said ''not in this building.''

Knowles, who routinely brings his dog Shadow to work, agreed when a local pet-sitting business asked him to join a national campaign to declare June 21 ''Take Your Dog to Work Day.''

But state officials this week made sure state workers didn't take the message from the top too seriously.

The Department of Administration sent out an e-mail letting workers know the proclamation didn't change the rules banning pets in many state buildings, Commissioner Jim Duncan said.

''Some employees called concerned because they have allergies,'' Duncan said. ''They weren't going to be able to come to work if there were going to be dogs in the building.''

The department's message, which went to all state employees, warned workers if they were thinking about bringing their dogs in, they'd better find out ahead of time if their office allowed it.

The 11-story State Office Building in Juneau, where the Department of Administration is housed, does not, Duncan said.

Other state buildings were more welcoming.

''Yes, we have some furry beasts here, not counting the people that work here,'' said Lynda Giguere, a Department of Labor and Workforce Development spokeswoman.

There was a pug and a little dog that looked like a shih tzu, and they all seemed to be getting along fine, Giguere said. She left her own animals at home.

''I can't think of anything less relaxing than having my panting Pomeranians at my ankles all day long,'' she said.

Pet Sitters International, a King, N.C., organization for professional pet sitters, was behind the proclamation.

The group's public relations coordinator, Ellen Richardson, said it's a way to show people who don't own dogs what great companions they make, thus encouraging more adoption of animals from shelters.

Then, too, it's also a way for pet sitters to promote their services, by distributing their cards at participating businesses, sending out press materials and getting involved in other ''take-your-dog-to-work'' activities.

The group succeeded in getting the proclamation signed in Connecticut, Arkansas, Missouri, New Jersey and New Hampshire, as well as Alaska, and will try for more states next year, Richardson said.

The proclamation was requested by an Alaska member of Pet Sitters International, said Knowles spokesman Bob King.

The administration agrees to most requests for proclamations, as long as they come from someone within the state, King said.

Thus, Alaska marked Ground Hog Job Shadow Day on Feb. 2, Meatout Day, encouraging a vegetarian diet, on March 20, and Motorcycle Awareness Month and Nobody Gets Hurt Month in May.

Just because Knowles signs a proclamation doesn't mean state offices -- or anyone else -- has to do anything about it, King said.

For instance, he said, April was Organ Donor Awareness Month.

''That doesn't mean you have to go out and give a liver.''

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