Illustration: Ashley Siebels
It’s National Puppy Day! This is our favorite day of the year because of all the joy that puppies give us, and probably yours too.
One US government agency is celebrating by showing its love for furry friends of its employees.
Ryan Zinke, secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, announced today that the “Doggy Days at the Interior” program will be launching, “to boost staff morale and lower stress.” The department is in charge of preserving this country’s “natural and cultural resources,” and employs 70,000 people. It also posts beautiful pictures of America’s national parks on its Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Today, it pays tribute to puppies.
— Secretary Ryan Zinke (@SecretaryZinke) March 23, 2017
— US Department of the Interior (@Interior) March 23, 2017
The Washington Post reported that this new policy will make the Interior Department “the first federal agency to go dog-friendly,” and that the program’s test launch will start at the Washington headquarters “on two Fridays in May and September.”
Secretary Zinke is definitely a dog person, no doubt about it.
In an emailed announcement to employees on Wednesday, Zinke reportedly talked about how much his dog means to him and his wife.
“Opening the door each evening and seeing him running at me is one of the highlights of my day…I can’t even count how many miles I’ve driven across Montana with riding shotgun, or how many hikes and river floats Lola and I went on with the little guy. But I can tell you it was always better to have him,” the email reads.
It is already pretty clear that Zinke comes to his post with an intense pro-puppy agenda.
For instance, if you’re an employee at the Washington headquarters of the Interior Department and you’re not a dog lover, you apparently have nothing to worry about: You just have to stay home.
The Washington Post reported that Zinke’s email said that workers who “would rather not interact with dogs at the workplace” have the option to “telework when dogs are around or have ‘other flexibilities.'”
Zinke, horse champion
But honestly, would you expect anything less from a government official who rode a horse to work on his first day at the Interior Department on a horse?
New Interior Sec. Zinke rode a horse to his first day of work at the Interior Dept. on Thursday morning – (corrects rode) pic.twitter.com/NRkogLVl6L
— NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt (@NBCNightlyNews) March 2, 2017
Having a pet can do wonders for you at work
Zinke is onto something by making the workplace pet-friendly. Being a pet owner can also make you a better employee.
A study by Virginia Commonwealth University found that participants said they were less stressed out on the job when their dogs were there. People who didn’t own pets said their stress levels went up when an animal wasn’t around.
Pets can also help with heart health. A study by by Karen Allen of the State University of New York at Buffalo found that owning an animal has led to lower blood pressure and protection against heart attacks.
And most importantly, looking at pictures of puppies (and kittens) can improve your focus and productivity. So go forth and appreciate a furry friend today.