Dogs & the Workplace: Fido on Line Two

The dog days of summer are coming early this year: June 20 is Take Your Dog to Work Day, and thousands of companies are rolling out the welcome mat. FirstComp insurance in Omaha will offer pets a bone-shaped cake and a wading pool, while the conference room at Village Green, a property-management company in Michigan, will host a doggie masseuse. (That's massages for dogs, not by dogs.) Pets in the workplace increase "morale, productivity and camaraderie," says Andrew Field of the Montana-based company Printing, where every day is Take Your Dog to Work Day. Such lenient policies are surprisingly common: 17 percent of Americans say that their companies are Fido-friendly, according to a new survey.

If you're among the estimated 5 percent of the population with dog allergies, though, Take Your Dog to Work Day may be a misery— a good time to Take a Personal Day. "I hate to sound negative," says Dr. Andy Nish of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, "but I do have concerns." There's a reason that most hospitals and schools don't permit dogs. Companies typically require visiting pooches to be gentle and housebroken—or else the pets get "fired." Even dogs, it seems, aren't safe from downsizing.