In the last year or so I sometimes take my Labrador retriever to the office. Being sort of silly about my dog, I like having her around. Everyone else seems to as well. As my wife and I were flying back from a short vacation in the west, I saw that my office had added a new position to our websites, a Chief Morale Officer. Lo and behold, there was a nice headshot of “Maggie Rawls.” I often joke that she is there to provide “canine supervision,” but the morale officer title is a more fitting one.
Our clients are people who have been injured or lost loved ones. There is no small amount of stress trying to figure out what cases we can take and then working up those cases we do take. Everyone in our office has an important job and our work needs to be right. Our legal business is not a forgiving one. We have to give our veterans and military family clients the best chance of getting a good result. It’s our mission, so morale is important.
Despite her breeding, Maggie is not exactly a rough and tumble dog. She is scared of her own shadow and she may be the only Labrador retriever in America who does not like to swim. Maggie does, however, love coming to the office and she gets plainly upset when I don’t take her. When we arrive, she immediately sprints to my office to get one of the several stuffed animals she likes to carry around with her (she does that at home too). Once she has one of her animals, Maggie then goes out and checks on everyone. Usually, she lies in my office door and every twenty to thirty minutes makes her rounds again. There are those who give her treats – and she probably favors them a bit – but she really does check in on everyone throughout the day. Sometimes I will look out and see her just sitting beside someone’s desk. If I go several days without bringing Maggie, people ask about her. When I go out of town, it has jokingly been suggested someone come by my house and pick her up. Only, I am not totally sure they are always joking.
When I started practicing law, no one would have even considered bringing their dog to the office. I can safely say that at the hardcore firm where I started the suggestion of bringing a dog would have been treated as a joke – and not a funny one either. Not all changes of the last three decades have been good ones, but the openness about things like flexible time and pets in the office is a good thing. If a Labrador retriever wandering around the office helps us do our job a little better, then our Chief Morale Officer has more than earned her keep.