Dog Friendly Offices are Trending

As someone with experience working in the pet care industry, I’ve seen first-hand how difficult it is to own a dog while being a high-functioning member of the workforce. 

We work long hours and are constantly busy, jumping from one project to the next with few breaks in between. 

Dogs are major time commitments, demanding attention, exercise, and bathroom breaks…it’s nearly impossible to provide your best friend with the care they really need when they’re home alone all day.

Dog walking apps like Wag! and Rover have become hugely popular as hard-working pet parents continue to prioritize their dog’s care while they’re away from home – but it can be costly. Doggie daycare is also an option – but comes with its own risks and financial pain points.

No one wants to sacrifice the joy of sharing their lives with a furry sidekick simply because of what they do for a living!

For our CEO, Neal Morris, there was never a doubt that Upstream would be dog-friendly. He built this business with his own loyal companion, Chica, by his side.

Fortunately, more and more workplaces around the country are opening their doors to canine cohorts. It’s becoming a commonplace perk, with major benefits to both employer and employee.

Why It’s Great For Employers

With dogs in approximately 36% of North American homes, it’s easy to see why employers are clamoring to make their offices dog-friendly in today’s competitive job market. 70% of millennials even say they “would be willing to take a pay cut if they could bring their pet to work very day.” Offers that include this benefit have an attractive edge to a sizeable chunk of any talent pool.

As an employer, letting your staff bring their furry sidekicks to work gives them an extremely valuable and convenient way to balance their work and home lives. You are basically telling your current and future employees that you care about what’s important to them, which goes a long way in maintaining strong, positive relationships over time – and that’s great for retention.

Why It’s Great For Employees

As an employee, your mind is free to focus on your work when you can see your happy and healthy pup right in front of you. 

You don’t need to constantly worry about finding a few minutes to run home and let your dog out – or hope that your dog walker remembers to stop by. This peace of mind boosts morale, reduces stress, and overall makes for a better day at the office.

Did you have a rough meeting? Give your best friend a belly rub, take him on a short walk, and get back to the task at hand feeling better than before. The emotional comfort and support eases mental strain on you as an employee while strengthening the relationship between yourself and your dog.

Take Lily, for example. This sweet pudge monster is a brand new addition to the family of our Executive Director of Client Development, Kev Ungi. Because she can come to Upstream, Kev can help her adjust to her new life without skipping a beat at work.

It’s Not Fur Everyone

Of course, you have to know your dog’s own personality and limits before making the decision to bring him with you.

If your dog doesn’t like strangers, noise, or other pups, then it’s not a good idea. If Buddy loves to hear himself bark, or rough-house with others, or isn’t fully potty-trained…then a professional office may not be the place for him. 

It’s also important to be respectful and mindful if some of your coworkers have allergies, or if important clients will be in the building that day.

In my opinion, dog friendly offices are almost too good to be true. Just this morning, I got showered in kisses from a spunky Boston Terrier – tell me that’s not better than coffee!


When it comes to things people fear most, surveys continue to show “fear of public speaking” at the top of the list.  Incredibly, our fear of standing up in front of a group and talking is so great, that (in surveys at least), we fear it even more than death!

Does that mean if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy? According to the old joke, yes.

Well, if you want to double-down on speaking in front of a large group – how about singing?

Last week, I was presented with the proverbial fate worse than death: Accompanying my 17-year old daughter on guitar in front of a packed auditorium at her high school’s annual talent show.

It was actually HER idea, and considering in six months she’ll be off to college somewhere, how could I refuse the opportunity (be it humiliating or exhilarating)?

The stakes were high.  She chose to sing “Dear Hate” (the country music song that peaked at #1 on the Billboard Country Music Chartsin October, 2017 . . . It was released by Maren Morris and Vince Gill in response to the Las Vegas shooting massacre).

I got a copy of the sheet music and we rehearsed for a couple of weeks.  We did a run-through the morning of the show with my trusty sheet music on a stand. We did a sound check moments before the show (again, with my trusty sheet music on a stand).

At 6:30pm, the curtain went up for the first of many performers in front of us.  About an hour later, when it was our turn to take the stage, we walked up to the microphones and . . .the music stand with my trusty sheet music was GONE!  (Much to my dismay and panic).

But there we were, spotlight in our eyes – she had the lyrics memorized, but I hadn’t committed the music to memory.


On stage.  In front of a packed auditorium. With my daughter in front of her friends and teachers.

Some say: “Fake it ‘til you make it.”  Not an option.  

Instead of faking it, draw upon past experience, and improvise. . . innovationin its purest form – to solve the problem at hand.  Among the many treasured experiences from my 12 years in Los Angeles, I learned a lot from all the times I got on stage at The Improvin Hollywood, as well as the The Laugh Factoryand The Comedy Storeon the Sunset Strip.  You don’t fake it.  You make it . . . work.

Use the accelerated heart-rate as fuel to ignite some creativity. I remembered the first two chords.  So far, so good.  When I got to a place where I had no idea what chord came next . . . I stopped playing and did a little “bongo drum” tapping on the body of the guitar. Next time I got lost, how about a long slide across the top E-string.  Not faking, just making.  Stage craft. Full commitment.  The show must go on.

The final result was magical (Proud Papa Alert: thanks in no small part to my daughter’s amazing vocal performance).

Success Follows The Prepared Person, as the saying goes, but leaving enough room for the unexpected (so you can embrace it) is part of creative problem-solving, too.  A philosophy we hold sacred here atUpstream 360.

Trust your instincts and surprise yourself.  Listen for the answer and triumph, as the song reminds us, “through the chaos and the noise.”