Employee Attitudes about the Impact of Visitation Dogs on a College Campus
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Therapy and visitation dogs are becoming more common on college campuses to provide comfort and support to students, but little attention has been given to the concerns of faculty and staff who share space with the dogs in their workplaces. The purpose of this study was to assess the perceptions of faculty and staff with regard to both the benefits and the hazards (e.g., dander, bites, fleas) and risks associated with the presence of visitation dogs in their workplaces. One hundred and thirty-eight employees who worked in buildings with resident visitation dogs completed an online survey about their perceptions of the hazards and risks of the dogs and the effects of dogs on the wellbeing of both students and employees. In general, employees perceived that the dogs presented minimal risks, and most employees believed that they can reduce stress and provide comfort to students on campus. There were a few employees, however, who reported that the dogs did not improve the work environment and conferred no benefits to the staff or students. The findings of the present survey support the mostly positive attitudes that people have for dogs in the workplace, but they also highlight a potential challenge: accommodating individuals who believe very strongly that dogs do not belong in work environments.
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