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9 Benefits of Taking Your Dog to Work

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There are lots of great reasons to participate in Take Your Dog to Work Day (mark your calendars! It's Friday, June 23). Taking down the "No Pets Allowed" sign and having an office where dogs are welcomed can benefit everyone. These nine reasons might just be enough to convince your boss.

1. EASY ICEBREAKERS

Coworkers, bosses, vendors, and clients in your office are not going to be able to resist saying hello to your canine co-worker, which means they will end up communicating with you too. Dogs help people loosen up, feel friendlier, and they create an easy way to initially interact with someone who might have been difficult to introduce yourself to otherwise.

2. STRESS REDUCTION

A study in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management found that workers who brought their pets to work had stress levels that decreased through the day, while workers without pets had stress levels that ratcheted up throughout the day. Stress relief created through wet kisses and furry hugs sounds like a much better option than trekking to the vending machine again.

3. BROWNIE POINTS FOR WORKING LONGER

Want to impress your boss? Bring your dog to work and you'll likely find you will (happily!) stay longer and work more, according to a survey by the American Pet Products Association. Because your pet is with you, you won't feel pressured to hurry home to walk or feed it, and you will feel happier and more content while you are at the office.

4. FLOWING CREATIVITY

Man in work attire sits on floor with a dog.
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According to the same survey, having your canine pal along makes people feel more creative at work. Presumably, having a friendly and supportive buddy nearby—one who has already lowered your stress levels so that you can fully concentrate—can help you focus and tap into your inner genius so you can come up with exactly the best solution or idea for the project at hand.

5. IMPROVED HEALTH

According to the Centers for Disease Control, pets help reduce cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure in their owners. Taking your dog to work also means that you will absolutely have to get up and take more frequent walks throughout the day than you might have otherwise—and all those extra steps add up (even if you don't hit the fairly arbitrary 10,000-steps-a-day mark).

6. INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY

You might worry that your dog will keep you from concentrating or getting enough done at work, but the opposite is true. Because your dog forces you to take short walks and respond to periodic pleas for petting or attention throughout the day, you're getting mental and physical breaks at regular intervals. Frequent short breaks like these actually increase your productivity.

7. INCREASED COWORKER COOPERATION

Two women talking in office while a dog sits near a desk.
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Offices with dogs tend to have increased cooperation and better working relationships amongst employees. Whether it's that dogs increase morale, make everyone feel more positive, or simply give them a reason to talk more, offices with pets are more likely to maintain a friendly working rapport across the board.

8. LESS WORRYING

If you've got a very young, sick, misbehaving, or elderly dog, leaving it home alone for nine or more hours can begin to wear on you later in the day. You may worry about what the dog is destroying, or if it's lonely or feeling OK. But bringing your dog to work means you (and your coworkers) will have your eyes on your pup all day long and won’t have to imagine what might be happening at home. And, your dog will be happier after spending the day with you and around other people and pets too.

9. INCREASED OVERALL JOB SATISFACTION

Employees who bring their dogs to work have higher levels of job satisfaction overall, likely due to a combination of being near their pets, feeling the effects of lessened stress, and knowing their employers are adopting policies designed to make the office a happier environment. Sounds like a win-win-win situation all around!

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NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero
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technology
Researchers in Singapore Deploy Robot Swans to Test Water Quality
NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero
NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero

There's something peculiar about the new swans floating around reservoirs in Singapore. They drift across the water like normal birds, but upon closer inspection, onlookers will find they're not birds at all: They're cleverly disguised robots designed to test the quality of the city's water.

As Dezeen reports, the high-tech waterfowl, dubbed NUSwan (New Smart Water Assessment Network), are the work of researchers at the National University of Singapore [PDF]. The team invented the devices as a way to tackle the challenges of maintaining an urban water source. "Water bodies are exposed to varying sources of pollutants from urban run-offs and industries," they write in a statement. "Several methods and protocols in monitoring pollutants are already in place. However, the boundaries of extensive assessment for the water bodies are limited by labor intensive and resource exhaustive methods."

By building water assessment technology into a plastic swan, they're able to analyze the quality of the reservoirs cheaply and discreetly. Sensors on the robots' undersides measure factors like dissolved oxygen and chlorophyll levels. The swans wirelessly transmit whatever data they collect to the command center on land, and based on what they send, human pilots can remotely tweak the robots' performance in real time. The hope is that the simple, adaptable technology will allow researchers to take smarter samples and better understand the impact of the reservoir's micro-ecosystem on water quality.

Man placing robotic swan in water.
NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero

This isn't the first time humans have used robots disguised as animals as tools for studying nature. Check out this clip from the BBC series Spy in the Wild for an idea of just how realistic these robots can get.

[h/t Dezeen]

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There May Be an Ancient Reason Why Your Dog Eats Poop
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Dogs aren't known for their picky taste in food, but some pups go beyond the normal trash hunting and start rooting around in poop, whether it be their own or a friend's. Just why dogs exhibit this behavior is a scientific mystery. Only some dogs do it, and researchers aren't quite sure where the impulse comes from. But if your dog is a poop eater, it's nearly impossible to steer them away from their favorite feces.

A new study in the journal Veterinary Medicine and Science, spotted by The Washington Post, presents a new theory for what scientists call "canine conspecific coprophagy," or dogs eating dog poop.

In online surveys about domestic dogs' poop-eating habits completed by thousands of pet owners, the researchers found no link between eating poop and a dog's sex, house training, compulsive behavior, or the style of mothering they received as puppies. However, they did find one common link between the poop eaters. Most tended to eat only poop that was less than two days old. According to their data, 85 percent of poop-eaters only go for the fresh stuff.

That timeline is important because it tracks with the lifespan of parasites. And this led the researchers to the following hypothesis: that eating poop is a holdover behavior from domestic dogs' ancestors, who may have had a decent reason to tuck into their friends' poop.

Since their poop has a high chance of containing intestinal parasites, wolves poop far from their dens. But if a sick wolf doesn't quite make it out of the den in time, they might do their business too close to home. A healthier wolf might eat this poop, but the parasite eggs wouldn't have hatched within the first day or two of the feces being dropped. Thus, the healthy wolf would carry the risk of infection away from the den, depositing the eggs they had consumed away in their own, subsequent bowel movements at an appropriate distance before the eggs had the chance to hatch into larvae and transmit the parasite to the pack.

Domestic dogs may just be enacting this behavior instinctively—only for them, there isn't as much danger of them picking up a parasite at home. However, the theory isn't foolproof. The surveys also found that so-called "greedy eaters" were more likely to eat feces than dogs who aren't quite so intense about food. So yes, it could still be about a poop-loving palate.

But really, it's much more pleasant to think about the behavior as a parasite-protection measure than our best pals foraging for a delicious fecal snack. 

[h/t The Washington Post]

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