Life has changed considerably for Hamlet, the most recent addition to the NLC community, since he moved east from California. The nearly 5-year-old Shar Pei was just rescued from a puppy mill where he was used as a stud—never leaving his cramped cage. Hamlet now uses his “lunch hour” to explore the 46 acres of parkland on NLC’s green campus, terrorizing the frogs but charming the faculty and staff.
Thanks to NLC’s “open-dog” policy, Hamlet is one of three dogs to come to campus daily, with several more visiting occasionally.
“Everyone is welcome at NLC—including pets. Students and visitors love to see the dogs because it shows that the college has heart, especially since most of the dogs are rescues and pound puppies,” said President Paula Peinovich.
Back to School for College Canines
Dogs are even found in meetings. Hamlet’s adoptive brother Ethan loves to sit in the corner of the meeting room, munching on his special snack—a Nature Valley Granola bar. Owner Carol Rodgers, Director of Admissions, first started bringing Ethan to campus in 2008 when a geese overpopulation problem started to affect the campus.
“It was just awful. The geese were nesting outside the dorm doors and attacking the students when they walked out,” said Carol, an NLC graduate. Now an experienced goose-chaser, 13-year-old Ethan is helping to train Hamlet to keep the geese from nesting near the dorms.
Even at 12, Ethan isn’t the most senior dog on campus. The winner of most veteran canine employee goes to Emma, whose owner Beth Shannon is Vice President for Operations. Beth was forced to establish the “No Feeding Emma” rule, after the fox hound had trained the entire staff to give her treats upon sight. One look at this sweet old lady and you can see why it’s hard to say no.
Working Like a Dog
Studies have found that those who bring their furry companions in to work are happier and more likely to put in longer hours. Instead of smoke breaks, the pups and their people head out for brief walks during the day, contributing to the health of the pair.
The benefits of having canine coworkers are not just limited to dogs and their owners. Employees at pet-friendly workplaces develop greater camaraderie, stronger work ethic, and higher staff morale according to research.
Take the Dog; Leave the Stress
You might want to trade your mid-day meditation for a canine belly rub. Being around a friendly, well-socialized dog can keep your blood pressure from soaring. According to a recent article on NPR, interacting with animals increases the level of oxytocin, a hormone that is said to increase trust and reduce fear.
Next time you need to beat the stress, stop by campus and say hello to NLC’s dogs at work and you’ll be rewarded with a wet nose or two.