I bring my dog to work — but an anonymous note asked me not to

A reader writes:

I have kind of a silly question about a job perk I feel strongly about.

I work at a company that tries to have a strong culture and provides some cool perks. I’m not really interested in most of these — things like unlimited vacation, free food, etc. The only one I care about is being able to bring my dog to work.

My girl is a sweet, well-trained, and friendly standard poodle. I checked to make sure it was okay to bring her — dog-friendly doesn’t necessarily mean large-dog-friendly — and management said as long as she was well behaved, it would be fine.

This is a huge perk for me. I live alone, I commute about 40 minutes each way, and I’d hate to leave my dog alone for hours every day. I also really enjoy having her in the office. People comment constantly on how well-behaved she is, and they ask about her on the days I don’t bring her in.

Today, my manager came to talk to me. The company has an anonymous complaint box. They’ve received a couple of complaints that my dog is too large to be allowed in the office, and someone left a note last week saying that they’re afraid of dogs. My manager very kindly asked me to stop bringing her to work.

I completely understand where they’re coming from, and I know very few offices would let me bring such a big dog to work regularly. But this was something that influenced my decision to take this job, and has a real impact on my happiness at work. I’m also a little frustrated about the whole anonymous complaint system. I can’t even offer to make a point of keeping my dog away from the person who’s afraid, or come up with another solution.

Does it make sense to try to discuss this with my manager to see if there’s an alternate solution, or do I just have to accept the loss of this uncommon perk?

Oh, this sucks. I’m sorry.

This is tricky because this kind of perk can always potentially change. If someone started working there who’s allergic to dogs, your company would have to tell you to stop bringing your dog in anyway. (The sometimes-exception to this is if you’re working somewhere large enough that they can easily move one of you to a different building without it impacting anyone’s work.)

I hear you on this perk being a key factor in your decision to take this job. It’s really upsetting when a major reason you took a job goes away — like the manager who you were so excited to work for leaves two months after you start, or the company moves from five minutes away from you to 45 minutes away, or so forth. This is in that same category, and it sucks.

But like those other examples, there’s probably not a lot you can do here. Bringing a dog to work always relies on the agreement of others, and that agreement can change, unfortunately.

The one thing you could try is to say something like this: “I understand that bringing a dog to work is a privilege that can change over time, if someone is allergic or afraid of dogs. That said, the ability to bring my dog to work was a major factor in me accepting the job — it influenced me heavily and is more important to me than any other perk we get. I understand that ultimately there just might not be a way to make this work, and I’ll need to accept it if that’s the case, but since so far we just have an anonymous note, I wonder if there’s room for more discussion. Could we try to have a more open conversation about whether other options would work, like the dogs being confined to one particular part of the building, or even me just ensuring Ophelia doesn’t leave my office?” It’s possible that your manager would be willing to tell the whole group that she’s heard some complaints about dogs that she’s trying to work out, and ask that anyone who prefers not to be around dogs come talk to her so that she can see if there’s a solution that will work for everyone. She’d need to be clear that it’s completely okay for people to say that, since otherwise people may worry that they’ll be branded as the person who ruined the dogs in the office for everyone else. (Frankly, they may still worry about that, which is probably why the complaint was anonymous.)

But if your manager isn’t willing to do this — and she may not be, which wouldn’t necessarily be unreasonable — then at that point you can’t really push it more. Again, this arrangement might have needed to change if they hired someone allergic anyway, so might always have just been a matter of time.

{ 1,280 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    I’m putting this up here so that hopefully people see it before adding new comments: There’s already a ton of discussion below about d0g-friendly offices in general. I’d love to see discussion that isn’t so dog-specific and is more about “what do you do when you’re told you’re going to lose a perk that was part of the reason you took the job?” Because ultimately that’s what this letter is about — and it’s genuinely upsetting to anyone who experiences it.

    1. Thursday Next*

      Oh I definitely sympathize, OP—but as Alison points out in her response, lots of work features are subject to change. Was the dog friendliness spelled out in a written policy? If so, you have more room for pushback than if it was informal.

      Are you the only dog owner affected, or can you band together with others to talk with management about possible mitigation?

      My sense is that (unfortunately) there may not be much ground for an on-site solution, but maybe you can negotiate some WFH time.

      1. Thursday Next*

        Hit reply too soon—unfortunately there are some things that employees can’t do much about, like when health insurance premiums rise or coverage changes. Do you otherwise like your workplace? Your coworkers? Is your salary sufficient to absorb the financial hit of a changed policy (in this case, a dog walker)? Are you likely to find another workplace that offers the perk that has been rescinded?

        1. Veronica*

          One of my (excellent!) coworkers actually left her last job because of changes to the company insurance. She has an expensive, chronic condition, and she has to work somewhere with really good benefits. She was lucky that when her old job made the decision to switch providers, her manager let her know a few months before open enrollment so she’d have time to look for other jobs. My coworker has said to me before that she could easily make $20K more in the private sector, she’ll probably always need to work for a university or similar large, public employer because her $100,000 a year medical costs would eat that right up, especially if the out-of-pocket max in Obamacare ever goes away.

    2. neverjaunty*

      I think it helps to keep in mind that what might be a perk for me could be something really terrible for one of my co-workers.

      1. Fabulous*

        And that is something that should be assessed when an employee is hired on. If you know a workplace is dog-friendly and you’re allergic or terrified of dogs, you probably shouldn’t pursue employment there.

        1. Helena*

          I don’t think many people would, if the dog-friendliness was spelled out. There was a previous letter where the OP was severely allergic and the dogs in the office were sprung on her after she started the job.

          And we don’t know who has seniority here – it may be the dog-phobic co-worker has been there for years without issue and then OP gets taken on and brings their dog, or OP could have been there for years and dog-phobic co-worker is the newbie. There’s no way of knowing from an anonymous note.

          1. Bob*

            The anonymous note complicates further discussion. I dislike it when people do these things anonymously but I get it. Nobody wants to be known around the office as the person that tried to ban dogs (or insert your favorite perk) from the company.

            1. One of the Sarahs*

              But if the office culture is to have an anonymous suggestion box, it’s not about someone not wanting to be the bad guy, it’s using the same structure they use for everything there.

            2. Ann Nonymous*

              Exactly why the anonymous note writer chose to be anonymous. There has developed a cult of extreme dog lovers that no one is allowed to oppose without being vilified. I don’t love dogs, I don’t hate dogs, but I sure don’t want them in my workplace. And thankfully I have not been put in the position of having to deal with this issue. If I am, you can be sure that I will keep my complaints anonymous.

        2. Vizzini*

          People’s conditions can change over time. I had a mild allergy to pet dander when I was younger (easily controlled with OTC medication when it bothered me), but it has worsen and developed over time. I could have worked in a dog-friendly office when I was younger, but today I can’t. Am I supposed to predict my future medical history when applying for a job?

        3. Retired Not Fired*

          I agree. I not that fond of dogs, however if I knew a job allowed employees to bring dogs I would strongly consider not working there. And if I did, I would not send a note later when I knew full well what was going on. Not saying this is what happen.

      2. Luna*

        The OP recognizes that in her letter, and it still doesn’t change the impact on the OP. This was a big reason why she took this job. I think it is worth asking the manager about the possibility of another solution, either keeping the dog in her office or working from home a few days a week. If that doesn’t work, OP might need to consider if this job is worth it; given the new situation, looking for jobs closer to home might end up being the best thing for the OP’s work-life balance.

        1. Dust Bunny*

          Perhaps the lesson here, then, is not to take jobs based on things that aren’t actually integral to doing the job. Perks like a dog-friendly office aren’t usually a necessary aspect of getting work done (even when I worked for a veterinarian, we could lose the bring-your-dogs-to-work perk if our dogs were cranky or got in the way) so they’re the most vulnerable to being eliminated if they become a problem for other employees.

      3. CutUp*

        Everything in the office could be terrible for another person. In the thread yesterday, people were talking about their severe anxiety with respect to receiving emails on their phones outside of working hours. For some people it’s a benefit to be able to fire off a thought at 2 am.For others it’s an extreme stressor.
        I work with many monitors, but for some people, it causes painful eye strain.
        Some of my coworkers have to stand all day. Some people have standing desks because they want to stand all day. Some people have arthritis.
        There’s no perk in the world that *no person* could claim is terrible for them, specifically. Dogs are no exception. For the vast majority of people, this is a great perk.

        1. NK*

          But the difference is, those things you mentioned facilitate the actual *work*, and if they don’t like them, it’s probably not the right job for them. Having dogs in the office does not facilitate work, at least not directly. It’s more like the perk of having free food or a fitness center on site.

          1. CutUp*

            There’s actually substantial research that shows pets lower stress and blood pressure – which would have a positive impact on work.
            Free food encourages people to work longer hours. Having facilities on site that workers would ordinarily leave to use (gyms, dentists, etc) similarly increase productivity. Additionally, having any perk will make a person feel more positively towards their workplace, so there’s a large impact on attracting and retaining high quality employees.
            As Allison points out, most comments are about people’s suspicions that the dogs are poorly behaved, not about handling the loss of a substantive perk.

            1. Else*

              Only if the people around pets aren’t afraid of them or allergic to them. As being around pets isn’t important to being able to do a job except in very specific circumstances, you can’t ethically require them to put up with it.

            2. Dust Bunny*

              Dogs don’t lower my blood pressure. Cats do, but they’re sort of dicey in an office setting (mine are, at least. Even if I were allowed to I wouldn’t bring them to work). But I find dogs needy and usually smelly, and I would really rather not work around them.

        2. Samiratou*

          Your bunch of monitors or cube-neighbor’s standing desk doesn’t impact my work in the slightest, so while some perks might not work for an individual, not all perks can actively affect other people. Dogs in the office are an exception because they can affect other people.

          Dogs aren’t the only perks that affect other people, to be sure, but they are among the perks that slot into “perks that may make my job better but could make other people miserable” vs. “perks that improve my performance but have no real impact on those who choose not to take advantage of them.”

      4. Green*

        This relates to the legal secretary letter (the ability to take unpaid vacation as a substantial part of the reason for having the job vs. the other secretaries not appreciating the person taking unpaid vacation), and is really on the business to manage.

        For example, I think maternity and paternity leave is great. I’m glad workplaces have it, and I’m glad my workplace expanded parental leave, because it’s good for society, advancement for women, diverse workplaces, single parents, child development, etc. But I’m not planning to have children, so this is not a perk for me. And, in fact, it is extra work for me (a burden) when colleagues in similar roles as me utilize this perk. Obviously I don’t hate the burdens of parental leave on me enough to leave my job because they have good parental leave, but for some people it’s *the perk* that makes them want the job, while for others it’s neutral or a burden to some degree.

        What’s important is to assess how important a benefit is to you, whether you’re willing to leave over changes to the benefit, and if the answer to the previous question is yes, then there’s not really much harm in telling them the circumstances under which you’ll continue to work for them and either part ways or negotiate.

        1. Very Anonymous*

          Yes, thank you. I’m glad I work for a company that offers paid family leave, but it doesn’t mean I’ll take maternity leave myself, and it doesn’t mean I’ll always be thrilled to cover for coworkers who do take advantage of our paid parental leave policies.

      5. Very Anonymous*

        My coworkers with kids would probably tell you it’s a perk that they can bring their kids to work when they’re sick. As an immunocompromised person, this is so very terrible for me, but I bite my tongue (and burn through my sick leave every winter) because I know what the backlash would be if I requested that this practice stop. I’d be the mean coworker who doesn’t want to hear children laughing, not the chronically ill coworker who’s tired of being exposed to daycare germs.

        1. Clare*

          Oh my god, you should say something! That is terrible. Let them work from home when their kids are sick, why are they exposing everyone else to their germs?? Even as a non-immunocompromised person I would definitely complain about that situation. If the daycare doesn’t want them the office shouldn’t either.

          1. I prefer tea*

            Yes, this really is a big deal. I’m not immunocompromised, but I live with someone who is, and regularly spend time with someone who is undergoing chemo – I am highly invested in staying well. But I have to admit, I’m probably more likely to push back on this situation in order to keep my loved ones well, rather than if I were the one in danger. But it’s not fair to ask you to endure this “perk” any more than it is to ask someone with allergies to be around pets at the office.

          2. Amanda*

            Strongly agree. I am not immunocompromised and still do not want to be surrounded by sick children — or sick people, period.

          3. KellyK*

            Yeah, I completely agree. Anyone who is willing to make their immune compromised coworker terribly sick (especially if work from home is an option) is being *really* unreasonable. You know your office better than we do, obviously, and some parents *can* be really unreasonable where their kids are concerned, but you shouldn’t have to put up with that.

          4. Dust Bunny*

            No way. My mother, whom I visit almost daily to help with housekeeping, is immunocompromised. I would NOT be OK with this policy.

            People who are contagious should not be at work, whether they’re employees or employees’ children, period.

        2. Advice-monger*

          @Very Anonymous, you should absolutely say something. You might even be surprised how much support you get.

        3. Detective Amy Santiago*

          Sick kids have no business in an office (unless it’s a doctor’s office). You should definitely speak up.

        4. calonkat*

          A FAR better perk for both the office and the kids would be to allow work from home when a child is sick. Or at the very least, using personal sick leave for family members who require care/supervision.
          But unless a child is older/incredibly mature, a good portion of time in the office is going to be setting up entertainment/taking to the bathroom/feeding said child. So the productivity is really not there, and more work can probably be done at home where the child is comfortable and familiar with the surroundings.

        5. sfigato*

          Have you noticed that a lot of people at your work tend to get what these kids have? Because bringing a kid who is too sick to be around other kids to work to be around adults seems…counter-intuitive.

        6. Chi*

          I agree with the others. Say something. I have kids but bringing my sick kids to work and causing someone else to suffer is not cool.

        7. Annoyed*


          As an immunocompromised person I would insist this crap stop.

          No way are their walking petri dishes more important than my “fragile and complicated” (per my doctor) health.

          Nor would I willingly burn through my sick leave because someone chose to bring their contagious offspring to work.

          You matter too. You should push back on this practice.

          1. BCgal*

            The mind blowing part of this thread is that parents feel they have to resort to bringing their sick kids to work. When you’re sick, you need to rest and wfh is a joke when kids are young – would I be drafting reports before or after I pull my sick toddler off the stove for 35th time?

            I’m an American living in Canada and I get 1.5 years mat leave. The first year is covered at 80% salary, the additional 6 months, which is optional and not as widely available (yet), is not. I also have family leave time and my employer would roll their eyes if I said I was wfh with my 22 month old because anyone who’s had kids knows the quality of work would be a joke.thankfully, I don’t have to do that because I have family leave and my own leave., because as we all know, that first year of daycare is killer and after the kids have hand, foot and mouth etc, you get it too.

            I’m sure if you’re not familiar with Canada’s policies and you’re used to the US approach you’d be worried about productivity, you’d think it’s a free for all or assume we’re a bunch of anarcho communists.

            Not the case. It’s just that smart policies and legislation have provided families and employers with rational and kind tools for dealing with real life. As a parent, I think it’s terribly sad that someone would feel their only option is to bring a sick kid to work. As a manager, I much prefer being able to wave off someone’s sick day when they need it.

            As a result of these policies I’m very dedicated to my employer. My little guy is sick and after he goes to bed I catch up because I figure why not? I had insomnia at 4 am so I worked from then TIL 7 am, same reason. I’m motivated because I feel supported and I am part of a big project at the moment. At another, slower time, I wouldn’t even bother working while on family leave for a day or 2. But I do it because I feel respected and have options. The ability to take family leave isn’t a ‘big deal’ to me – it’s part of modern working culture here.

            I’ll never understand how we Americans can be such great innovators and lead so much culture but have such a huge blind spot about building in realistic policies to match needs. It’s as simple as deciding that offices should have washrooms. Why? Because humans poop. We should also have mat/pat and family leave because humans make humans and we need to fucking care for each other,duh! Even if you don’t have children you were someone’s child. When they raised you, you got sick. And if you don’t have kids, you still will have ageing parents, etc. Will some people abuse it? Yep. There’s a proportion of people out there who will screw the pooch EVERY DAY, ALL DAY. They’re the minority and they exist everywhere regardless of rules, social norms etc. But the rest us, and we’re the majority, can and should be trusted to self regulate and balance the nature of being human – getting sick, having kids, having ageing parents, getting divorces, having mental health issues, etc – with work.

            The system of control and command, including tight controls and silent retribution for using sick time (not getting promoted, being judged) is outdated and counter to building a better, happier workplace and home life. We just have to normalize a better alternative.

    3. Detective Amy Santiago*

      In my experience, perks are generally subject to change at any time, so I personally don’t put as much stock in them when considering whether or not to accept a job. Which I realize may not be a terribly helpful thing for the OP, but is something to keep in mind.

      1. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)*

        I don’t know… everything can change (salary, workload, project assignments, office location, etc. etc. etc.) , but we have to put stock in something or we literally couldn’t make a decision.

          1. JB (not in Houston)*

            I think Victoria’s point is that it’s ok to rely on something in taking a job because almost nobody would take a job no matter what was offered, and you can’t be flexible about *everything.* If it’s a minor benefit that you like having but wouldn’t be a dealbreaker for you, sure, be flexible and don’t get to invested in it over time because you could lose it any time. But if someone says “I took this job specifically because they promised me I’d be making X and I’d never have to work on Y, and now they’ve cut my salary substantially and I’m only doing Y,” sure, that can happen. But that doesn’t mean the compassionate or realistic response to that is to say “that’s why you have to be flexible! Anything can change!”

            I totally get what you’re saying. You are talking about perks and not the major factors that usually drive people to accept or decline jobs. But Victoria is addressing those things that you it’s not so easy to say “be flexible” about–and you’re both right (though that doesn’t mean that leaving a job because they took away a perk isn’t reasonable, because what might be a minor but nice perk to you could be what makes a job acceptable to someone else).

          2. Amanda*

            I don’t agree with this. Even if change is inevitable, it is also OK to not be flexible and decide that a change in salary/insurance/location/manager/perks/coffee type in the office/whatever is not a change you are willing to accept. Different things matter to different people, so for some not being able to bring a dog to the office might be a deal breaker.

      2. Lil Fidget*

        I also think it’s exceptionally hard in this case that, through no wrongdoing of her own, ONLY the OP lost the perk, which presumably everybody else in the office still has. That is extra hard to swallow. I would try to ask my employer for *some* kind of reparations here – more time from home? Something, to help me feel better about this, or I would probably start job searching.

        1. Detective Amy Santiago*

          That’s a fair point though I do wonder if other employees had similar conversations and OP just isn’t aware of them.

        2. Not Yet Looking*

          Does anyone else think that it’s worthwhile to create a battle zone here, and go all “If the perk of employees being able to bring dogs to work is removed, that will make me sad, but if the perk of being able to bring dogs to work is removed ONLY FROM ME, despite my dog being at least as well behaved as the rest, then I will fight to have ALL dogs removed. I’m happy with equity in either direction.”

          1. Chatterby*

            …honestly, I totally would.
            Because if someone is afraid of dogs, all the dogs need to go. Not just mine.
            And I’m vindictive like that.

            1. Nonsenical*

              Vindictive like that wouldn’t play well nor would it help anyone in this situation. It would also create resentment.

              1. Lil Fidget*

                Haha it would never have occurred to me to try to get the perk taken away from everyone else … a literal “dog in the manger” lol. I just sympathize that it’s going to make OP feel even worse about losing the perk herself. Like I said, I think more work from home opportunities would be the best case scenario (or more money).

        3. Boo R*

          This is the thing I wonder about. This seems to be banning her dog, but not all dogs. (And I am firmly on the side that dogs don’t really belong in the office and should only be there under really specific and very agreeable circumstances for anybody.)
          This reads as her dog is large and therefore scary. Little dogs would be OK though? This is bananas because of sizeist unfairness and also inaccuracy. I know many, many more gentle giant dogs, especially standard poodles, than chill little dogs. Little dogs are crazy wild beasts with Napoleon complexes (I know this is true. I have owned 5 of them.)

    4. Susana*

      Alison, you’re right that we need to talk about the lost-perk part of this. The reason it’s hard to do that is that this is a perk that affects other employees in a way that, say, discounted gym memberships don’t. Even a perk that has an effect on other workers – like working from home when others might need you in person to work on projects – has workarounds the pet issue might not. I love dogs and think a well-behaved one can lower the tension in an office (there’s a reason a lot of members of Congress bring their dogs in – unconditional love, and they’re not pressuring you to slip something into the tax bill). But if someone is afraid of dogs, what can you do? Does it make sense, when interviewing people, to say, this is an office where we welcome well-behaved dogs – knowing that might solve the issue by discouraging folks who don’t like dogs?

      1. Lil Fidget*

        I don’t think you can even discriminate against those with allergies. But yes, this letter reminds me of the Bird Letter, where somebody with a phobia ended up harming somebody else. In this case, the perk is zero sum – OP’s happiness is apparently correlated to somebody else’s unhappiness. And the perk isn’t related to the business of the office, so … unfortunately, I don’t see an outcome where OP gets to keep the perk.

      2. Antilles*

        Does it make sense, when interviewing people, to say, this is an office where we welcome well-behaved dogs – knowing that might solve the issue by discouraging folks who don’t like dogs?
        There are offices that do openly call out that they welcome dogs; I’m vaguely recalling that there might have even been a couple AAM questions from people who were told in their interviews that it was a dog-friendly office.
        Does it make sense? Hard to say. There are definitely people who would love to be able to bring their dogs, but probably a much larger number of people who would hate the dog-friendly office (not just people who hate dogs generally but also people who are fine with dogs generally but not while I’m trying to focus). So it’s definitely a trade-off and it just comes down to figuring out what the company values.

    5. Goya de la Mancha*

      Of course always start with asking, because you don’t know where it might get you. Eventually it would come down to some serious soul searching and number crunching. Are you able to take on the extra costs that might be attributed to the loss of the perk? Are the other pros of the job worth giving up this one perk (that may be hard to find elsewhere)? I don’t get any of those fun perks mentioned, but if I had to lose something unwritten like flexibility, it would be enough for me to start seriously job searching. I like my job, but one of the biggest pro’s is the flexibility I have with my Supervisor.

    6. Wubbletelescope*

      I’ve worked at a company who shut its onsite daycare, asking employees to use the daycare available at a sister sitemin away. Eventually that whole office was shut down completely and the employees moved to a different location which was 45minutes away.

      Losing perks happens. In my case the company offered more flex time, and allowed some people to work from home 1-2 days a week. But for the most part, employees just had to grin and bear it.

      Perhaps it is because LW is the only one affected that this seems unfair. But it’s not personal.

    7. LCL*

      Losing the perk is the end result. To me the main point of the letter is ‘management made a policy change that was detrimental to me, because of anonymous complaints about me. Should management be making policy decisions because of anonymous complaints?’ By making one rule change the way they did, management has embittered one employee, and empowered the backbiters. Management has allowed coworkers to anonymously target one employee. Things will only get worse from here.

      OP should definitely talk to the manager, and ask for an explanation. Start with asking why manager gave an anonymous complaint so much weight. Look, I fall on the side of the loves dogs, would love ’em in the office. But I don’t work in that environment, and I accept it. But if we were a dog office, and everyone was allowed to bring their dog EXCEPT me? That’s personal, and management would have to do a lot of talking to convince me I wasn’t being targeted. The fact that OPs dog is bigger is frankly, irrelevant bull excrement.

      1. Pet Friend*

        Empowering backbiters? Why can’t these people have a valid complaint? Management can target one employee if their dog is disruptive or causing issues for others. And the dog’s size is very relevant. Can’t you see how someone could fear retribution by coming forward and being “that” person. The person who needs to advocate for their health and wellbeing. And allergies and phobias are very (wrongly) hotly debated as something people can deal with or get over. I’m sure these people didn’t want to deal with OP trying to wrangle them into an agreement they aren’t comfortable with just to keep the peace.
        The hostility over this really reinforces that anonymously was the right thing to do. I have gained perks and lost perks. I have reported issues anonymously and I have come forward to talk to the person also. It depends on the issue and how management/coworkers have reacted before. Management could give no weight to this and lose multiple good employees. Why not focus on advice for OP going forward as opposed to slamming management with only one side of the story?

        1. LCL*

          Because all I have is OPs side, based on the letter. And based on the letter, management looks really bad in this. My opinion is based on bitter experience, both learned and observed. Whatever the issue is, whether it’s dogs in the workplace or who gets the choice parking or something equally important to someone yet irrelevant to someone else, making decisions based on anonymous suggestions is almost always the wrong way to do things. The end result is, the more popular and more adept at dirty tactics group get most of the goodies. Disclaimer-when I complain about the anonymity model, of course I’m not talking about legal/compliance/criminal matters.

          1. Pet Friend*

            I think if you are bitter about your own experiences then you really aren’t ready to provide healthy advice or insight based on them. Workplaces cannot always be fair. Sorry. Some people get better parking and others have to park further away. Op isn’t going to get very far if they are shouldering advice that you provided based on bitterness and feeling slighted.

            1. LCL*

              Bitterness can totally be a healthy response and allow one to provide good advice. It depends on what you learn, and how you apply it. The best effect of bitterness is it makes it easier to recognize when someone else is being mistreated. Make no mistake, OP is being jobbed on this because of HOW IT HAPPENED.

        2. Luna*

          There is no indication that the dog’s behavior is a problem. There is no indication that this complaint has anything to do with allergies or any other health-related issues, so we really need to stop assuming that’s the case.

          I think the empowering backbiters comment was mostly referring to the anonymous nature of the complaint. Anonymous complaints should not be used to target one employee, and having a culture where that is allowed is very toxic. In my experience those complaint boxes are usually meant to be used for complaints about managers or company policies that are difficult for lower-level employees to address in any other way. If the complainer has an issue with the company’s dog policy in general they should have said that, rather than complaining about just one co-worker and her dog.

          1. Advice-monger*

            I do not see how ignoring the 800-lb gorilla (er, poodle) in the room is wise when talking about the issue in the abstract.

      2. calonkat*

        Dog size can actually be a big part of this. Due to apartment restrictions, many people don’t get exposure to big dogs a lot. I, on the other hand, am always nervous around tiny dogs (they look so fragile and the ones I’ve met tend to nip/bite more (because it’s “adorable”???) and am fine with large dogs (we have had Newfoundlands). But I’m very familiar with people who automatically assume that size=aggression! And no matter how often you explain how calm your dog is, there are always people who are basically terrified if they are presented with a large dog.

        1. Kyrielle*

          And I grew up with large dogs, and am now scared of them. Why? It’s a large dog that bit me. Initially I was terrified of all dogs (I was shaking to be in the room with a geriatric toy poodle that I knew to be docile and arthritic, from my own personal prior experience, and had to stay out of reach). I’ve been working on it and now I can be around a large dog that I know well, or one that is clearly restrained a leash without acting aggressively, and not be very scared.

          But if I had trouble with a dogs-in-the-office policy because of my fear (phobia? it was, but I’m not sure it rises to that level), it would _absolutely_ be the larger dogs I had issue with, unless someone had a smaller dog that was actually and clearly aggressive. (Which, speaking of, I think is more common with smaller dogs…but unless they’re doing that they scare me less, because them, I can imagine effectively fighting off if I had to.)

          As it is, I have allergies, so constant exposure to them in the office would be a problem anyway. There was one company on my job search that I would have taken myself out of the running once I saw their dog-friendly office, except they turned me down. (It wasn’t a good fit all around, and I think they saw that too. Nice people, good work environment modulo the dogs, but I wasn’t the employee they needed, and then there were the dogs. Who were all very laid-back and napping when I was there, but not all small.)

          1. Argh!*

            Good for you for working on it. I was bit by a pit bull but I don’t automatically assume all pit bulls are biters (or all dogs for that matter). They’re individuals.

          2. Specialk9*

            I was bit by a Rottweiler as a kid, on the face. I didn’t know enough to know that she has given me lots of signals that I didn’t recognize. I don’t blame dogs for that, I blame that owner (more harshly as I grew older).

            But I recognize that other people *are* afraid of dogs, and they get to decide for themselves what they’re comfortable with. When I walk my dogs, I’m courteous and take care to give people space if they need it – I move them to the side of the sidewalk when approaching people, every time, and ask before entering an elevator with people (apt building).

            That said, there’s a limit to how much I’ll do – one lady (in my apt building that allowed dogs from the beginning) would see my dogs across the parking lot, or way down a long hallway, and start SCREAMING in terror like the horsemen from the Apocalypse were stealing her soul. There wasn’t much I could do for her, and I wasn’t going to respond by moving or sending my dogs to a kill shelter just because she moved into a pet friendly apt building, and apparently wasn’t getting the therapy and/or meds she desperately needed. All I can do is be respectful of people within a reasonable spectrum, and expect people outside of that range to own their own shit.

    8. Lauren*

      The nature of responses whenever there are pet-related issues tends to be highly predictable: you have one group who are strongly for, one strongly against, and a small group remaining who are trying to address the issue (but will get talked over by the first two). At this point this announcement should probably just be inserted into the post itself as default whenever pets are even remotely related to the question being answered.

    9. NorthernSoutherner*

      I started a job — after relocating and a very long job search — that was supposed to end at 4 pm, according to my interview. On my first day, I found out it was actually 5. I questioned it and the person training me said the interviewer had made a mistake. Because it had taken so long to land the position in the first place, I decided to try making a go of it, but I didn’t even last a full six months. That hour made a huge difference to my schedule and ended up being a deal-breaker.

  2. Murphy*

    I’m curious about whether there are other dogs in OP’s office and if anyone else has been asked not to bring their dog in.

    1. Bostonian*

      I was wondering the same thing. Either OP is the only one taking advantage of this perk, or everyone else has been bringing in smaller dogs with no complaints. Personally, I would be more afraid of a chihuahua than a poodle.

      If other people are also bringing in dogs, maybe that will help OP’s case in finding a different solution (e.g., that group of employees can work in a specific area of the building).

      1. Anon for This Post*

        Me too. I absolutely love large dogs; I don’t care for small dogs. When I was in fourth grade, I was attacked by a cocker spaniel out of the blue. I’d been playing with her all afternoon, and when I turned to walk away from her and get in the car to go home, she attacked me from behind. I managed to yank my upper arm out of her mouth, but she bit me on the wrist, sending me to the ER for stitches. I would not say I am frightened, but I would just prefer not to have a small dog around.

        1. I can do it!*

          I’m with you, Anon. Small dogs are usually SO much more disruptive than larger ones. I’d take a greyhound passed out in the corner any day over a Min-pin running laps around the office. True story, at my last dog office, the person who brought their dogs in the most just put the puppy pads wherever the dogs pooped around the office, including UNDER MY DESK?? and rarely cleaned them, so you’d be sitting next to feces for a week. She, like OP, thought her dogs were fine and everyone liked them.

          1. Sam.*

            I just had flashbacks to the roommate who brought home a kitten without telling me or the third roomie, set the kitten up in the second bathroom (read: the one third roomie and I used) – again, without telling us – and then just kind of assumed we’d take care of it? NOPE. I don’t like cats, and I’m definitely not becoming the litter box-minder of a cat that was thrust upon me. Like, feel free to love your animals excessively. Just don’t expect everyone else to do the same…

            1. Triumphant Fox*

              A friend of my lived in a house with roommates during grad school. One of the roommates decided to get a cat without telling anyone, then decided to train the cat to use the (only) toilet in the house. Apparently the way you do this is put a litter box or something in the toilet for a while and the cat figures it out, then eventually you remove the litter box. Every time anyone human wanted to use the bathroom, they had to remove the litter box.

          2. Porygon-Z*

            Well that’s completely disgusting. How about she potty train her dog like most of the world? And if it was a temporary measure while she worked on training, confine her dogs to her own area. The mind boggles.

          3. Hera Syndulla*

            Some people need to realise that small dogs need to be trained as well.

            A friend of mine has a chihuahua, but she trained him like larger dogs are trained. He is not allowed to jump or bark, is not to go on the furniture unless allowed, not allowed to beg for food, etc. I always forget that he is a chihuahua because my experiences with that breed are far from nice (as a child my neigbhours had them and when I rode my bike past them, those 3-4 bastards chaised me).

            So training is essential with smaller dogs as well.

            1. A grad student*

              I’ve had similar experiences as yours with chihuahuas, and HATED the breed. Now I have a rescue dog whose DNA test says is 1/4 chihuahua, so I’ve had to begrudgingly rethink my prejudices :)

              But it’s always a huge shame when anyone fails to train their dog, and it’s just a lot more likely that people with small dogs don’t try to train them because they can’t cause the same degree of damage. It’s not good for anyone, dog included.

              1. fposte*

                Yes, it’s a known problem–people move small dogs bodily rather than training them to respond, so they get really defensive about bodily autonomy.

              2. Specialk9*

                Interesting, I too had noticed that contrary to stereotype, tiny dogs are usually terrible awful horrible scary things, whereas big dogs are usually chillax and lazy… But I hadn’t thought about the difference in training being responsible. Hunh.

            2. Dog is my co-pilot*

              God knows what the “consequences” were for this poor chihuahua if it begged (the horror) for food.

              1. fposte*

                That sounds like you think you can’t train a dog without abusing it, though, and of course you can.

              2. TL -*

                A well behaved dog doesn’t beg for food. That’s a very, very reasonable expectation of any dog – even our chihuahua, who had, for lack of a better term, food insecurity issues, learned not to beg for food after we worked with him.

              3. Perse's Mom*

                That’s unhelpful and the scare quotes are uncalled for. Proper training of a dog is teaching them good manners and behavior and that’s it.

          4. chocolate lover*

            OMG how long did you put up with that for?! I hope someone cut that short real quick. That’s awful.

          5. Elspeth*

            Yeah, but according to the OP, her dog IS well-trained/well-behaved. There’s a big difference between the person who won’t control their dog (and let it poop everywhere!) and someone like OP who doesn’t allow the dog to disrupt the office.

        2. CMFDF*

          I was bit by two dogs as a child – one was an aggressive and frightening dog who left a small scar, and one was a sweet dog whose stress signals I didn’t respect because I was a jerk child but only scraped my skin, barely breaking it. One was a Chihuahua and one was a Chow Chow.

          As an adult, I own a Chow Chow and try to avoid Chihuahuas and smaller dogs like them. (I also think that most of the issues I have with small dogs come from the owners either not training their dog because they’re small, so they “can’t really” hurt someone, and/or not respecting their dog’s comfort levels because they’re so cute and portable. It’s not the dog’s fault, they’re probably doing the best they can.)

          1. Specialk9*

            Spaniels are some of the most biting-prone dogs out there, but nobody thinks that, they think Pits and Rots and Dobies.

      2. LBK*

        This really depends on the person – I was bitten badly on the face by a dog when I was younger and it’s mostly under control but I still get panic attacks around dogs sometimes. I’m fine with small dogs, even more active, yappy ones, because frankly if worst comes to worst I know I can physically overpower them. I don’t like being around big dogs that I feel could attack me beyond my ability to fight back, even dogs whose owners swear up and down are well-behaved. Frankly, I’ve found there’s plenty of dog people who enjoy behavior I find anxiety-inducing, so our definitions of well-behaved can often be very different – I don’t think it’s cute for a dog to lick me, and definitely not on my face.

        Irrational or not, it’s a fear I have, so I don’t think you can just logic away the idea that some people don’t like bigger dogs, period.

        1. Nonnon*

          I was raised around dogs, I love dogs, and I’d still find a random dog jumping up at me and licking my face to be a bit scary. Especially a bigger one. I understand dog behaviour enough to know that jumpy, “kissy” dogs are unlikely to attack, but I am small and easily knocked over by larger dogs.

          Like, I don’t care that your Newfoundland/Leonberger/domesticated bear is a big softie and wouldn’t attack anyone. My head hitting the floor is still dangerous! Being covered in oceans of dog drool is unpleasant! Being trapped under a large animal is intimidating! And if I’m honest, being stuck with a pack of urinating, humping, biting chihuahuas is also a horrible experience!

        2. Alexandra Hamilton*

          100% with you on that – both the not loving large dogs I can’t physically control and the fact that maaaaaany dog owners think absolutely terrible dog behavior is “so cute” or “friendly” or whatever. I don’t know your dog, lady! It shouldn’t be jumping at me!

    2. Kittymommy*

      Ooh, good question. My initial thought on the letter is that the primary complaint that I would be concerned about is the person afraid of dogs. That might be hard to overcome depending upon their level of fear.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        Same here. If Ophie (as I will now call her because of the name Alison chose) is the only one asked to leave, then I’d be a little more hesitant to comply, but if she’s the only dog who ever comes in, then I get it.

        I’m admittedly biased, but she sounds like a good girl. I have fond memories of a former dentist who brought his standard poodle into the office (but not the exam room!). However, as the owner of a somewhat big bud myself, I try to be extra sensitive when people are afraid of big dogs. My dog is friendly and super chill, but fear is fear and can’t always be rationalized.

      2. Lizziebeth730*

        Yes, as we’ve all learned here… someone who’s afraid of something might push you in front of an oncoming car….

      3. Zombeyonce*

        Agreed. And the person afraid of dogs shouldn’t be asked to try and overcome that fear just to go to work every day when it has nothing to do with their job.

    3. Goya de la Mancha*

      Size sometimes really is the issue. My supervisor is afraid of dogs – she has fewer issues with smaller dogs (Poms, shih tzu’s, etc.) but the few times my 70lb lab was in the office she was taking back hallways to get to the bathroom.

      1. Zombeyonce*

        Sometimes it’s not even size, but a specific breed. I’ll admit I’m not a big fan of dogs but I can handle being around them as long as they leave me alone no matter the size…unless it’s a Doberman. I was chased by one as kid and will cross the street if I see one. I might be able to get by in an office where people brought in everything from Chihuahuas to Great Danes, but if someone started bringing in a Doberman I’d be asking to work from home every day.

        1. Argh!*

          … or you could contact a Doberman breeder and ask to spend time with some of their dogs to help you de-sensitize.

          1. Zombeyonce*

            I don’t run across enough Dobermans in my life to make that worthwhile. Also, that sounds like the last thing I’d want to spend time and money on.

            1. KellyK*


              I really strongly dislike the idea that it’s always the job of anyone with a phobia or trigger to spend whatever time and money it takes to fully desensitize themselves to that trigger, no matter how long that takes or how much the trigger impacts their life.

              You’re not working in a vet’s office or a doggie daycare; you don’t owe it to a hypothetical future Doberman-having coworker to pre-emptively desensitize yourself. Like, if you suddenly find yourself surrounded by Dobermans, it may become something you want to look into, but it’s still your call.

              (Argh!, I know your suggestion was kindly meant and can be helpful in a lot of cases. But I think it feeds into the assumption that anyone with a phobia or other mental issue is obligated to “fix” it so that they never inconvenience anyone else.)

              1. APoster*

                I disagree. They are working in a dog-friendly office. Unless the rules were changed after they agreed to work there, it’s on them to figure out how to cope or work elsewhere. What if it were a service dog? Does their phobia supercede the needs of the person with the dog? You might reasonably expect the person with the dog to keep it in a certain area away from them. But complaining and causing the whole office to lose a perk (that was a big factor in why some people chose to work there) over their unwillingness to try to deal with their problem is not the answer.


    OP, are you currently the only one who brings a dog to work? Where does your dog stay during the work day? Do you have an office?

    I get being afraid of dogs, but if you have an office, and your dog is only out of your office when on a lead and heading out for a walk, I think you have room for some push back. If you are at a cubicle, it might be a little harder, but if the office can be separated into dog cubicles and non-dog cubicles, maybe there is some room for push back there too.

      1. L*

        I venture to guess based on the “free food” and “unlimited vacation” thing that this is a startup environment, so it’s probably open concept for most employees.

    1. Casuan*

      Cat person here, who likes dogs yet prefers to live with a cat. Also I’m allergic to most animals although when I’m in frequesnt contact with one my allergies aren’t as bad; thankfully my fur allergies aren’t too serious to begin with.
      I’m ambivalent about pets in the office, which has nothing to do with cats or allergies. If I were in a dog-friendly office I’d roll with that & probably I’d go for my share of puppy love.
      (also there are already hundreds of comments & I’ve only read a few of them; I know I’m probably being redundant although I want the OP to know she has lots of support :)

      Disclaimers aside, OP, I think it sucks you were told not to bring your pet to the office & I hope you can successfully get this perk back. As others said, small dogs can be even more of a nuisance than larger dogs.
      What’s the time frame with all of this- I mean, for how long have you worked there? The unwritten company culture could be that you need some time under your belt before taking this perk so if you’re relatively new that could be a factor.

      If you’ve been doing this for more than a few weeks, presumably your colleagues would have spoken up already. Could there be a particular incident that occurred that gave others reason to complain?
      Are you the only one who brings her dog to the office? If not, were others also told they must stop?
      I’d love to know why Scared-of-Dogs hasn’t already mentioned her fear to anyone. It’s possible that she thought she’d be okay & she got triggered although still… It isn’t like SoD’s fear developped overnight (although it’s theoetically possible). I’m thinking that the scared comment is just another way of saying that person doesn’t want your dog in the office.

      Along with Alison’s suggestions, ask if your manager can determine more specifics:
      Why is your larger dog worse than a smaller one? Does she take up too much floor space, does she walk by desks & others get distracted by her size, does her tail knocks things off desks, etc?
      These things might be easily solved.
      OP, are you certain your dog is as well-groomed & well-behaved as you think she is? Often we ignore the faults in our own pets… or kids… or even ourselves…
      If there are any complaints on grooming or behaviour then you might be able to correct those enough to bring her back in.

      Good luck!

      ps: Your letter said you have a “silly question about a job perk.”
      As you can see, your question isn’t silly at all & I’m glad you wrote in to Alison.

      1. senatormeathooks*

        It’s possible her colleague hasn’t spoken up because perhaps no one else was taking this benefit beforehand.

        1. Zombeyonce*

          It’s also possible the colleague is only afraid of this particular kind of dog, or only large dogs, which is a reasonable reason to ask it not be in the office no matter how well behaved.

    2. Grapey*

      I get being afraid of dogs too, I don’t get being afraid of dogs AND signing up to work at a place that includes a perk of “is dog friendly”.

      1. Zombeyonce*

        That’s not always clear when taking a job. I dislike dogs but wouldn’t think to ask if a place were dog-friendly in a job interview simply because I’ve never worked anywhere pets were allowed so it wouldn’t occur to me unless they were all over the place when I walked in. And OP might be the only person that brings in a dog so it may not have been an issue until now.

    3. nonymous*

      adding to the push back sentiment, what about asking the company to explore partnerships with a local doggie daycare? While I love my dogs and would be very sad to see that kind of perk withdrawn, sometimes it’s not possible to reverse that kind of decision. But the logistics of going from dog-friendly to dog-prohibited are more than emotional – I’d have to find a dog walker or dog daycare, which can get quite expensive. If the company mitigated that expense by negotiating a discount, or arranging for pickup/dropoff from work (which in OP’s situation would give an extra hour+ of time together!), that would be very helpful.

  4. Sassy AE*

    That’s a bummer too because poodles are generally considered hypoallergenic. My mother, who has terrible asthma is able to have a little Apricot poodle named Butter.

    I do understand the fear issue, though. Hopefully your manager and you can figure something out. Or if this is company that values a lot of perks maybe you can figure out a remote work situation occasionally so you can still work and care for your dog.

    1. legalchef*

      Just bc this is a pet peeve of mine (a constant argument bw myself and my husband), there’s no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. There are dogs that are much lower allergen (such as poodles), but there are a lot of people (such as myself) who are still allergic to them. The mislabeling makes it much harder for someone to complain about this dog due to allergies (not that this seems to be the situation here).

      1. ThatGirl*

        Yeah, we have a maltipoo, who’s often considered “hypoallergenic” because he doesn’t really shed.

        But the whole reason we got to adopt him is because the first lady who took him home turned out to be allergic to him.

      2. SnowyCold*

        Yep. My son came home needing his puffer years ago after a play date at house where they had “the most hypoallergenic dog.” They were surprised to hear of my son’s reaction.

      3. Allison*

        Gahh I hate when I say I’m allergic to dogs and people insist their dog wouldn’t be a problem, because he’s hypoallergenic and “no one” is allergic to him, not even their aunt who’s normally super allergic to dogs. Sure, it’s possible I really wouldn’t have a problem around that dog, but simply insisting the dog would be “totally fine” isn’t gonna convince me. It’s your dog and you love him, you might be a biiiiit biased.

      4. Happy Lurker*

        Family member is only allergic to the “hypoallergenic” dogs. Regular dogs are fine. Dogs with hair and cats make him miserable.

      5. FD*

        Huh, I had no idea that was the case, and my family had standard poodles! I can see why that misconception would be a big issue for people with allergies still set off by them.

        1. nonymous*

          My understanding is that because the dogs with hair (vs fur) don’t shed as much, all their dander (the stuff most people are allergic to, a mix of skin and hair or fur) doesn’t fly all over the place. However, I’d imagine someone with a dog allergy would still react to the dog itself, who now has a greater concentration of dander in it’s near vicinity, but might have a lower reaction to the space.

      6. EddieSherbert*

        +100 I hate the “hypoallergenic” trend. ESPECIALLY on the mixed breeds (like the ever-popular goldendoodle), where only about 1 in 20 puppies get the “less allergens” gene…

      7. Sue Wilson*

        there’s no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog. There are dogs that are much lower allergen (such as poodles),
        this is a contradiction. the “hypo” prefix just means “low/less than normal”. I think you mean people need to stop understanding hypoallergenic is an absence of allergens. the word itself is fine and appropriate.

      8. Legal Beagle*

        Yep. I’m highly allergic to poodles, but have no problem with my own dog (a beagle). Allergies are weird!

        1. KellyK*

          I’m much the same. Allergic to both dogs and cats, but I’ve apparently been exposed to my own pets enough for my immune system to shrug it off. I also have a hyperallergenic cat, who I react to much more strongly, and so do other friends who are allergic. She grooms anyone who’ll hold still long enough and has longish fur that sheds a lot, so I guess it’s not surprising that she’d be spreading allergens a lot more.

    2. cheeky*

      There really isn’t such a thing as a hypoallergenic dog- some breeds perhaps don’t provoke allergies as much as others. I’m allergic to all dogs and cats, even the “hypoallergenic” breeds. The allergen is a protein in their saliva and urine.

      1. Say what, now?*

        I have this issue as well. I’m allergic only to Viszla saliva. All other dogs seem to be fine. But I discovered that my neighbor’s dog would give me kisses and I’d break out in hives. I tried it with another Viszla and the same thing happened. Curious.

      2. animaniactoo*

        For me it’s the dander in addition to the hair… and I have yet to meet a cat or dog who doesn’t shed some dander.

        1. ClownBaby*

          I’ve got 2 hairless dogs (a Xolo and a Chinese Crested…which has hair on her head and tails, I guess, so not fully hairless) and one hairless cat (Sphynx) so I’d be curious to see how you’d do with them! They don’t affect my friends with bad allergies in the slightest! Though my friends aren’t lifting them up and inhaling their skin and they always wash their hands after petting/holding them. I’m sure they still could elicit an allergic reaction if someone tried hard enough.

          1. LBK*

            Not sure about the dogs but Sphynx cats are still not generally considered hypoallergenic because the issue for many people is the dander and the saliva, not the fur.

            1. ClownBaby*

              Yeah but the lack of saliva-covered fur to shed definitely helps out. She also has to get regular baths. Had I known how high maintenance they were… I may not have taken her in. The dogs too- weekly baths, sweaters in the cold and sunscreen no matter what…which can lead to clogged pores/acne…ugh.

              My aunt was weird and loved her hairless animals, so when she passed…I became the crazy hairless animal lady. Been a few years now and they are still the strangest things.

              1. Say what, now?*

                I suspect it’s the regular bathing you give her that helps more than anything. My friends tried a special shampoo for their hair-filled cats and that seemed to take the edge off for me.

          2. TootsNYC*

            Dander isn’t hair.

            Dander is skin.
            (well, sometimes hair is dander too, if you use the “any material shed by an animal)

            And when hair sheds, it often brings skin along with it (standard poodles have tightly curled fur, so their skin flakes probably don’t have an easy time escaping).

            I would think a hairless animal would actually shed MORE skin flakes. Or at least as many.

            1. ClownBaby*

              I know dander is not limited to hair.
              I was just stating that my animals don’t seem to cause reactions in allergy sufferers who have come into contact with them.
              Frequent baths (Since healthy skin is so important for them, they can’t go more than 7 days without a bath) and moisturizing that are required for them help to keep dander at bay.
              Did I ever claim that my animals were hypoallergienic? No. Did I ever claim that they don’t have dander? No.
              I simply made a comment saying, I wonder how this commenter would deal with them. In fact, I even stated that I am sure they could elicit an allergic response.

        2. Allison*

          That’s me as well. I wish more people knew that hair is just one allergen a pet can produce. Nearly all pets have dander and saliva.

          1. TootsNYC*

            and with cats especially, the hair will carry dried saliva around. So, the presence of hair can affect the reaction if it’s the protein in saliva that’s causing the problem.

        3. Jesmlet*

          The so-called “hypoallergenic” dog breeds are genetically prone to producing less dander than other breeds but of course it can vary dog to dog and breed to breed. Fortunately my parents, who are both highly allergic to pet dander, are fine with my Portuguese Water dog, even while we were living with them.

    3. Archives Gremlin*

      Just an FYI there is no such thing as hypoallergenic dogs. Poodles and similar type dogs shed less and their dander usually doesn’t bother people but again there is no such thing hypoallergenic dogs.

    4. Rusty Shackelford*

      To everyone saying there’s no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog – “hypoallergenic” means less likely to cause an allergic reaction, not that it won’t cause a reaction in anyone at all. As far as I can tell, the word is being used correctly, if it means poodles cause fewer reactions than the average dog.

      1. legalchef*

        But in common vernacular, when people say “hypoallergenic” they generally mean that it won’t cause a reaction, so the usage is problematic.

        1. Rusty Shackelford*

          But it’s still frustrating when people say “there’s no such thing!!!” when in fact it’s simply that they themselves are using/understanding a word incorrectly. And now I will crawl back into my hole on this particular tangent.

      2. hermit crab*

        Right – the “hypo” prefix means “under” or “lower than normal,” not “none” (e.g., someone who is hypoglycemic generally has low blood sugar, not zero blood sugar). But I think “hypoallergenic” has evolved to mean “definitely will not cause a reaction” in casual conversation.

        1. animaniactoo*

          Absolutely – witness me on a train with someone trying to tell me that their dog was fine for me to sit next to because it was hypoallergenic. It was almost impossible to get across that if the dog scratched me even by accident I had a strong likelihood of heading to the e.r. and so no – it doesn’t matter how well behaved the dog is, I cannot sit next to your dog.

        2. Mallory Janis Ian*

          I hate it when that happens with a word: the actual correct usage becomes somehow incorrect because the common, vernacular usage overwhelms the actual meaning of the word. Bleh.

          1. Mallory Janis Ian*

            I understand that this is how language evolves, but it’s a PITA while it’s in the process of happening.

            1. Ex-Academic, Future Accountant*

              I’m as descriptivist as they come, but I think it’s different when it’s a technical term!

              1. Database Developer Dude*

                Tell that to my government lead in my office. He likes to invent his own terms for common database functions and gets upset when I correct him. I’ve stopped correcting him, but he also gets upset when I use the correct terms in describing what I’m doing. I’ve stopped talking about what I’m doing.

    5. Em*

      Poodles aren’t “hypoallergenic”, but they are very low dander. My husband has a dog allergy and asthma, but we have a miniature poodle. He still has to be careful about not touching his eyes after petting her, or they’ll get pretty irritated, but we’re able to make it work because we wanted a dog.

  5. KR*

    Hi OP. If you have the ability, could you work from home for a day or so so that to still get to hang out with puppo during the day some days? I can bring my dog to work but it’s kind of a pain because I have to bring his bed and a toy and treats too (lots to carry) so sometimes I just work from home so I can hang out with him and the cat.

    1. Turquoisecow*

      My suggestion is that maybe OP can work from home certain days, or that certain days can be “dog free” office days where employees who have an issue with dogs can be in the office without concern. Like maybe OP works from home two days, and two of those days are “no dogs in the office” days. And maybe people who don’t want/can’t handle dogs can work from home on days the dog is there?

      If this is an allergy concern though, it might not be feasible – dog hair and dander lingers even if the dog is gone. We have two cats at home, and moving the cats out of a room does nothing to relieve allergy symptoms in that room, unless we also do an extensive vacuuming/dusting and possible carpet shampooing. So if a coworker is allergic to dogs and OP limits the time the dog is in the office, Coworker may be still miserable afterwards. (I’m going out on a limb and assuming the cleaning in the office is not sufficient to remove allergens.)

      1. Marie*

        I am not sure I like that option; for one it means the dog owners can not work directly (as in seeing in person) with the people who fear dogs.
        Also, you’re basically imposing working from home (not everyone sees that as a perk) everyone who fear dogs because of someone else’s pet.

        1. Important Moi*

          Everyone may not see it as a perk, but some people may. Unless you saying it shouldn’t be offered at all?

          1. Marie*

            No that is not what I meant.
            OP lost a perk; that’s between her and the company. It seems unfair to me to demand the solution comes from a third party: “Jane, because you’re afraid/allergic to dogs, we now require you to work from home three days a week. A poodle is more important than your ability to go to meetings, and we would like you to adapt your schedule accordingly”.

            Dogs issues aside, it’s not up to the coworkers to compensate for a lost perk.

    2. Hills to Die on*

      I think that would be a great compromise if your company allows it!

      If you are still unable to bring your dog in after further discussion, perhaps doggie day care during the week is also an option? I’m sorry you had to do this—it doesn’t seem fair. If someone is afraid of dogs, they shouldn’t really work someplace where dogs are allowed to come into the office or they should find a way to cope. I don’t feel like the onus for this should be on you. Just my opinion.

      1. ProfessionalNosyButt*

        My dog goes to daycare every day, and I can tell you, if I had this perk at work, and it was taken away I would be livid. Daycare is one of the most expensive line items in our monthly budget. Being able to take her to work would make up for a pay difference of multiple thousands of dollars.

        I do think that in order for a dog to be allowed to hang out in an office it should pass the Canine Good Citizen’s test. It’s the bare minimum that shows a dog has some semblance of being well behaved.

        It feels super unfair to me that someone who chooses a job based on a perk, can lose that perk because of someone who never took advantage of it, and most likely knew the situation before working there. Almost like a non-smoker choosing a smoking room because it’s cheaper, then complaining about the smell and demanding to be moved because of their allergies.

        1. Hills to Die on*

          I agree—I think it’s very unfair. And while I don’t use dog day care, I once had child care when my kids were little and it’s crazy expensive!

        2. kb*

          I think we also don’t know how the dog-friendly office was presented to the coworker who complained. I could see a situation where it was not brought up before the person joined. Because I don’t own a dog, I wouldn’t think to ask and I could see an interviewer not realizing they need to mention it. Or if it was brought up, I can see it being minimized to the interviewee. Like, “Oh yeah, people only bring in tiny dogs and you’ll never even have to interact with them.”

          I’m not a dog person, but I think dog-friendly offices can be a great perk. I think a lot of workplaces don’t really fully think it through before they implement it, though. I think people tend to get too distracted by their love of dogs or think it’s a quick and free way to boost morale when there’s a actually lot of prep work and policy-setting involved. You have to figure out a behavioral baseline for the dogs, you have to determine who is in charge of dealing with doggy drama, if you are an organization that hires new people you have to figure out accommodations for those who can’t be around dogs… To me, it seems like the biggest problem in this letter is that management hasn’t really set clear policy and expectations around dogs in the office.

      2. Not In US*

        I think sometimes people take jobs because they need a job and they may even think they can deal with the fear – but then find out that it really is impacting them. I don’t think it’s reasonable to hold someone’s ability to earn a living hostage to the fact that OP want to bring the dog to work.

        Full disclosure – I’ve self selected out of job opportunities once I realized dogs were allowed in the office because I am that allergic. I didn’t want to be the person who “ruined” the culture. But I could afford to do that. If I had been in a more difficult spot, I could see trying to make it work with more medication only to ultimately realize it really didn’t work.

        1. nonymous*

          I both agree and disagree with this comment. While I think people definitely take jobs that are really unhealthy in the name of paying bills, most of the time the solutions available don’t cost coworkers thousands of dollars. So why jump to a $$ penalty on OP?

          In my area doggie daycare costs $25-35/day. Having someone come to your house and give the dog a potty break costs about the same. So OP is now in a situation where, in order to allow the dog an option to pee more than 1x in 8 – 10hrs (my bladder is bigger than that of a 80lb dog, and I pee more than that!), she is looking at a weekly bill of $125 or >$6K (assuming 50 weeks). Now if she works 4-10s, with one day from home, that cost could be reduced to ~$4K, but it’s not a small chunk of change.

          Compare that with the unhealthy situation of dramallama coworkers or other stories we see on AAM. Rarely is the solution “just fine the offender $5K a year”. The advice I generally see is (a) move on to a different employer if possible and (b) minimize impact.

          1. Loony Luna*

            just to clarify tho…wasn’t OP a newer employee? So theoretically whoever wrote the anonymous note has been there longer than OP. So it’s not about whether anonymous-letter-writer should or should not have taken the job….they were there first. I really agree with the comments regarding the management failing in terms of setting up clear guidelines for how dogs in the office would work. I think there are a lot of considerations such as phobias, allergies, behaviour that don’t seem to be something the company has actually given a lot of thought to.
            Honestly i love the idea of a dog friendly office, but if I were allergic or had a phobia and someone new came into the space which caused me to become suddenly uncomfortable or sick…I wouldn’t be too pleased

            1. nonymous*

              I didn’t see anything about seniority in the original letter, all it said was that the perk was a deciding factor in taking the job. The OP said that it was an anonymous note, so it really could be either, although presumably anyone senior to OP could have voiced their fear of large dogs before OP’s hire. And I was responding to @Not In US ‘s comment, not evaluating the situation as a whole.

              At the numbers I mentioned above, I can see an OP counting the perk as part of their compensation package, like some couples consider transit subsidies as a way to cut their household down to 1 car or the value of an awesome retirement/healthcare benefit. So losing this perk would cost $. Now it is entirely the company’s prerogative to rescind the perk at any time, but I disagree with @Not In US ‘s statement that other people’s livelihood are being held hostage unless the company is willing to go dog-free. In this case, a non-trivial part of OP’s livelihood is held hostage to someone’s anonymous note. This should not be an either/or proposition and the comments are full of examples of compromise.

              I agree with you though, if the company’s policy was actually subject to veto, they should have communicated that to OP. And there definitely needs to be a clear policy of dealing with health issues or a preference for distance – I love dogs, but there are definitely some that I find annoying.

              My advice to any company considering a dog-friendly policy is to require annual CGC classes/certification. This would help standardize behavioral expectations. There’s actually a protocol for how dogs greet strangers (they’re not supposed to jump up or nudge for attention), and a lot of CGC is about teaching owners how to handle their dog in a way that is respectful to the general public, including getting used to the concept of a long settle.

    3. CatCat*

      This sounds like a really good solution. If it’s not feasible and OP decides to look for another job, OP can cast a wider net than “dog-friendly” offices by looking for offices with generous telework policies. I think telework is a much more common option than dog-friendly.

      1. Purplesaurus*

        Agreed. If OP could telework the same number of days she already doesn’t bring her dog to the office, that would seem like a reasonable compromise to me.

    4. Retail4Life*

      I was thinking the same thing of asking for an alternate perk. The first thing that came to mind was doggie daycare (either fully paid or maybe a negotiated discount). I think losing any perk that you rely on getting taken away deserves that chance to ask for an alternative replacement.

  6. Dust Bunny*

    Honestly, I think you need to be less invested in this perk. Whatever your job is, you have a whole lot of perks going on (free food, unlimited vacation, dogs, reasonable commute–mine is 45 minutes *if I’m lucky*). You could change jobs but my guess is you’ll be hard-pressed to find another that’s a step up perk-wise. Animal-related perks are always going to be on shaky ground, mostly because of the allergy factor, since you can’t really blame somebody for being allergic. It sounds like the company as a whole needs to have a big discussion about dogs in general, though.

    1. Penny*


      I wouldn’t give up this job over one thing if you love it otherwise. Invest in a dog walker or dog sitter.

      1. TootsNYC*

        you mean, “Take a pay cut,” right?

        Because that’s essentially what you’re suggesting.

        (Oh, and, no matter how valuable they might be, dog walkers and dog sitters are expenses,, not investments.)

        1. Indoor Cat*

          I dunno, I think that’s too pessimistic an assessment of Penny’s idea.

          Lots of people use paid pet sitters, or they figure out a trade system or something. Having to pay for a non-essential part of my life that I enjoy, whether it’s having a dog or ordering $$ food a lot (if, for example, it was the “free food” perk that was lost rather than the dog perk), is just, well, choosing to spend my money on my values. It doesn’t affect how much money I have coming in.

          Plus, I think the reason people use the term investment is because of the phase, “sometimes the easiest way to pay is with money.” Which is to say, not paying money for certain things can lead to increased stress or reduced joy, and the quality of life improvement and time saved by certain optional expenses is pretty high compared to the amount of money spent. If time is money, then it’s like an investment.

          This is also why nobody calls paying utility bills an investment. It’s not optional.

        2. TL -*

          I have a lot of food allergies that means I wouldn’t be able to take part in the free food – would I also be taking a pay cut by working there?
          The OP chose to get a dog; pets are pretty expensive. The perk is nice but it’s not a pay cut to decide that you want to spend your money on your pets – that’s just you making a choice with your disposable income.

          1. Perse's Mom*

            If you had taken the job with the understanding that the free food included food that you can eat and this meant you weren’t having to purchase groceries for most of the week (thereby saving a lot of money) and then the allergy-safe food or the free food entirely was taken away, then yes. That would, imo, be the equivalent of what the OP is dealing with.

        3. Esme*

          Presumably, OP had the dog before she lucked into this dog-friendly job, so she should have been aware that doggy daycare might be something she’d have to consider at some point. Also, I think some people might have overlooked the fact that it was more than one coworker who complained (the OP said her manager mentioned a “couple of” complaints). For all we know, there may have been more than two (perhaps the manager didn’t want OP to think people were ganging up on her). Since there were more than one, there also could have been different reasons (fear, allergy, plain old animal hatred). So the issue may be even more complicated.

          1. Elspeth*

            We’re supposed to take the LWs at their word. Two complaints were about the dog being too large, and one complaint was related to fear of dogs. So the question is, are all other dog owners now banned from bringing their dogs to the office, or is LW being singled out?

        4. Loony Luna*

          But as an animal owner, it’s still your responsibility to deal with your animal during work hours. I understand being able to take the dog to work was a huge perk, but it’s probably not a guarantee that every job you apply to is going to be dog friendly. So I don’t get the argument that OP is now going to have to spend thousands of dollars per year on doggy daycare. If OP lost their job suddenly and had to take a job where dog perks didn’t exist, they would still be responsible for the dog during the day. That’s how owning an animal works.

          1. KellyK*

            Sure, if they lost their job or changed offices or any number of things, they would have to pay for the dog’s care. But the point is that this specific job promised them a perk, they took the job in large part because of this perk, and then the perk got yanked. If they were promised $50k a year and it was cut to $45k after 6 months, or they were promised reimbursement for mileage and that policy was changed, then they’re still out that money. It’s not really relevant that other jobs only pay $45k or don’t reimburse for mileage.

      2. Pet sitter*

        Dog walkers and pet sitters are less expensive than doggie daycare, but still difficult to fit into many people’s budgets daily. If you got someone to do it for $10 a day, you would pay $200 a month, and $10 a day isn’t standard.

        I’m not sure what I would tell OP to do – asking an employer to compensate for it seems unreasonable. But then again before being a pet sitter I never worked in a pet-friendly office and I don’t know what they consider normal.

    2. Say what, now?*

      Allergies for sure, but also phobias. They aren’t something that can be just shirked off either since being exposed to something you’re afraid of (rationally or not) is going to impact your health in a negative way. I’d urge the OP to remember that as much joy as your dog brought to you at work, the coworker is likely experiencing an equal amount of anxiety and that’s not good for them either.

      1. MK*

        Unfortunately people are very dismissive of phobias about pets. I am afraid of dogs to the point of hysterical anxiety attacks if one run towards me barking, and most of their owners, instead of trying to get hold of their dog (that should have been on a leash in public anyway, according to the law), keep trying to talk me out of my distress by insisting the dog doesn’t bite.

        The OP’s suggestiin that she could make a point of keeping her dog away from the person who is afraid is another example. Someone who is afraid of dogs isn’t going to be at ease with one in their office space, even if it doesn’t try to jump on them.

        1. Malibu Stacey*

          “Unfortunately people are very dismissive of phobias about pets.”

          Which, imo, is likely why the complaint was anonymous and why it seems unlikely the coworker will come forward to the LW or her supervisor in order to work out a compromise.

            1. Jesca*

              Well, that comes down to a business decision, and I do not think a lot of employers are going to fire/not hire people just because they do not like to be around dogs. Also, phobias and allergies and ADA and all that. So, the business here is making a decision, and I think it is important to realize that. Some places make take your stance, but I think a lot of business take the stance of not turning away talent based on a perk. And, they will allow that perk until it becomes a problem for others – not the other way around.

              1. Hills to Die on*

                I was thinking of it more toward the note writer. If it’s that much f a problem for him/her, why would they work at a place where they are likely to be around large dogs in the first place?

        2. Rainy*

          There are a lot of bad dog owners. My old dog was dog-aggressive, and when people would let their off-leash or leash-trailing dogs run up on him and I stepped between them or signed him to sit facing away or began speed-walking off (depending on his level of chill that day), the owners would invariably bleat “BUT SHE’S FRIEEEENDLY” at me. Like that matters! I started yelling back “My dog isn’t!” but that still didn’t deter a lot of people, who frankly should have known better.

          1. Riding along*

            I get the same thing while out riding. Most dog owners are helpful/sensible and get their dog under control or back on a leash as they see us riding up, but i’ve had plenty who don’t care about it running up to the horses because it’s “friendly”. Lady my horse doesn’t know that, if it spooks I’m in danger, if it decides to kick out your dog is dead.

        3. Mallory Janis Ian*

          most of their owners, instead of trying to get hold of their dog (that should have been on a leash in public anyway, according to the law), keep trying to talk me out of my distress by insisting the dog doesn’t bite.

          If only more people had an accurate view of their dogs’ behavior! It seems that so many people think their dog is a sweetie-pookums who wouldn’t bite anybody, despite all evidence to the contrary. My son was bitten by a dog who came charging after him with its owner calling after him, “Oh, don’t worry! He’s a sweetie! He won’t bite you!” and then CHOMP! I really appreciate the dog owners who have a good enough handle on their dog’s temperament to advise, “Please don’t touch him; he may bite”, but it seems like obliviousness is more common.

          1. Beanie*

            You know what? My baby is a sweet angel who has never bitten or growled at a living thing in her life (chew toys are a different story). Her breed, temperament, and most importantly, my years of experience with her have me confident that she wouldn’t bite. HOWEVER, in public she is always on a leash, I’m monitoring others around me for potential discomfort (like phobias), and if she is approached by someone wanting pets I do give warning about the kissing. Despite everything I said above I can never really know. I just have to be a vigilant owner and respectful of those around me (fyi this is in dog friendly places like the pet store!).

            And yet: if I was the OP I would be frustrated w/this situation enough that I probably would be looking for a different job (w/the dog perks or more work from home options). Not that it’s entirely rational…

          2. Fiennes*

            Even dogs who generally very good can have moments. My dog is extremely well-behaved; every time I take him out in public, people comment on how quiet & relaxed he is. So imagine my surprise last spring when another dog came in for a sniff and my dog snapped at him! It was so odd that I called his vet, who only then chose to tell me the meds he was taking for an eat infection were, essentially, dog meth.

            Tl;dr — sometimes even good boys have to be on dog meth.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              ANY dog can bite, under the right set of circumstances. And owners are often blind to this because 1) their dogs don’t bite them, and 2) they love them, or 3) they’re entitled AF.

              Whenever we have one of these threads, all I can think of is Diane Whipple.

              1. Globetrotta*

                I don’t disagree that any dog can bite – I had to go to the hospital and get a rabies shot because of a that most suburban of family pets, the black lab. And obviously, this attack was horrific. But drawing comparisons between giant breed dogs that were bred for fighting and treated in a way that increased their aggression with a family pet that might tweek is a stretch.

            2. Amanda*

              Yup, this. We adopted our dog two weeks ago and she is a super sweetheart, but also, she is a rescue dog who (we think) was likely abused in some way and is mouthy (she is a border collie/shepherd mix, both herding breeds). She has a loud bark and she’s strong, and we know that it will take a few weeks to months for her to fully relax in her new home. So that means that she is always on a leash (when she’s hanging out in our apartment so we can take control in any situation if we need to), we’ve invested in weekly obedience training, and we do not let her near other dogs until she’s better trained and she meets them under supervision.

              I really wish all people and dog owners would 1) ask before they try to pet her, and 2) BELIEVE ME when I ask you to not pet my dog/not let your dog near my dog. Also like, just don’t stick your hand in front of a dog’s face, especially if you don’t know the dog. I know you think it’s cute but will it still be cute if it bites you? Oh, you don’t know if it bites? Cool, so don’t try to pet my dog.

          3. Stealth mode for this, because hoo boy*

            Yup. Here’s an experiment: get yourself a baseball bat. When dog owners tell you “oh, he won’t bite! He’s friendly!”, tell them “good, because if he bites me, I’m defending myself with the bat.” Suddenly they’re not so sure.

            1. Fiennes*

              This is creepy, and you’re right to be ashamed of posting it. While respecting different points of view, could we maybe have a moratorium on suggesting animal cruelty?

            2. Wow*

              If you’re going anon to advocate violence against animals perhaps you shouldn’t be saying anything.

            3. Sure, I'll go anon for this, too*

              I like dogs on a case by case basis. When I was a teenager, I was forced to go with my parents to visit their friends (staying several nights), and they had some little yappy dog that wouldn’t leave me alone. The owners thought it was funny that I didn’t like this behavior. One night, we were all sitting around watching TV, and the wife was playing with the dog and one of his toys. She thought it would be hilarious to toss the toy onto my lap so the dog would jump on me.

              I have no idea where the dog landed, as my flailing around wasn’t exactly voluntary. This was nearly two decades ago, and I still feel zero guilt over it. On the one hand, I can see why people are having a negative reaction to the suggestion of threatening a dog with a baseball bat. On the other hand, if you don’t like the idea of someone threatening your dog with a baseball bat? Then control. your. dog.

              (And lest anyone think I am a terrible dog-hating monster, once when I was in college, one of my roommates dogsat his sister’s little yappy dog who attached himself to me and followed me wherever I went, but that dog was well-behaved. We were best friends by the end of the week and I was sad to see him go.)

              1. Green*

                Moratorium fail.
                “On the other hand, if you don’t like the idea of someone threatening your dog with a baseball bat? Then control. your. dog.” At least the original comment was self defense, now you’re just outright threatening other living creatures because you don’t like the behavior of *the person.*

                1. Sure, I'll go anon for this, too*

                  Yes. That is exactly what I wrote. I am totally advocating people arm themselves with baseball bats and roam the streets looking for poor defenseless little doggies to threaten. It’s not like the rest of my post had any context whatsoever about dogs physically touching, or even attacking people when they don’t want to be touched while their owners did nothing about it, which is also what Stealth Mode was responding to. Reading comprehension fail.

                2. Green*

                  People–including Allison–have already asked you, repeatedly, to just stop with the weird threats. And you then doubled down saying that someone’s failure to control their dog now gives you the dependent right to threaten dogs with baseball bats, whether or not it poses any risk for you. I can’t beat everyone with a baseball bat who physically touches me on the subway…

                  So… why not just stop?

              1. Anon2*

                Legitimately exercising your right to self defense against an attacking animal doesn’t make you cruel to the animal, it makes the owner cruel to the animal. It make the owner a cruel to the animal because they let the animal get into a situation where someone may have a need to hurt the animal, and it’s being cruel to fellow humans because it’s endangering them.

              1. Anon2*

                Defending yourself from an attacking animal doesn’t mess make you cruel. If someone’s pet gets hurt because someone legitimately defended themselves from its attack, then the person who was cruel to the animal was the owner for letting that animal get in that situation.

              2. Teddie*

                This reminded me of when we adopted a dog that my sister (she was a toddler back then) loved so much. Unfortunately, the dog likely had an abusive former owner and the trigger for him was any stick/pole of some form. My sister made the mistake of picking up a stick to play in the yard while he was watching a few feet away – not even playing *with* him, and he charged and bit her to “defend” himself. She required 13 stitches, but she came back and loved the dog the same as before (just carefully avoiding carrying long objects around him). So yeah, literally carrying a bat as an argument for defense is not really for the good of everyone.

                However, I do understand the need for self-defense if people cannot keep their pets under control – if anything attacks my cat I can only imagine what I’d do to keep her safe.

            4. Mary*

              I think perhaps a metaphorical baseball bat, aka using the word lawsuit to the business owner, is a better idea, if you’re truly afraid. I once worked somewhere that allowed occasional dogs to come in, and of course one guy had to take advantage and bring his dog in every day all day even when we had events or other things going on where that caused issues. That was annoying but we dealt with it, until…
              His sweet puppy became an extremely aggressive one year old who started snapping, jumping and was just uncontrollable. After several instances where he almost bit a visitor, I finally told my boss that I was absolutely going to personally sue the company if I got bit. The dog did not return after that. And more importantly no person or dog got hurt. I think it was also a wake up call for the dog owner.

          4. FD*

            I know, it drives me crazy! I have to walk by a house every day where the owners insist on regularly tying one of their pitbulls out on a very thin line and it goes for me every. damn. time. Their other one got out and ran around me barking aggressively while the owner stood there like “derp, what’s the problem here?”

            (I have nothing against pit bulls. They are however large dogs and like any dog, you need to *train* them, especially if you’re going to leave them out in your front yard, and they are more capable of yanking out a thin stake than a chihuahua.)

        4. animaniactoo*

          fwiw, I will allow you to borrow my standard line which is true for me even though not for you. Because I have yet to see it not work.

          “Yes, but I’m allergic.”

          Then they start hurrying up to make sure and keep their dog away from me (except the one time on the train with the guy who tried to convince me it was fine for his dog to nose me because it was hypoallergenic, see thread above on issues with that). I suspect that it is the idea that I am being “innocently harmed” by their dog rather than their dog’s behavior and the fact that it has a known physical reaction is enough to “prove” to them that they need to reign in the dog rather than defend it.

        5. CEMgr*

          I once had a dog run up to me and bite me on the leg. Then the owner came out of the house and said, “Don’t worry, she won’t bite.” Blood was running down my leg from the puncture wounds.

        6. Esme*

          And someone who is truly allergic is unlikely to find relief even if the animal is moved into another area (unless the workplace is massive). In any case, I don’t see this perk as comparable to telecommuting or unlimited vacation. I love animals as much as the next person (I have six of my own), but I wouldn’t think of inflicting any of them on my colleagues. Coworkers’ needs have to take precedence over those of pets. I’m also curious as to whether the pro-dog contingent would feel as strongly if we were talking about people bringing their kids to work.

      2. Tuxedo Cat*

        Without knowing the lay out of the office, the OP’s dog might always be around the person is who is afraid of dogs. If they work close by, it would be uncomfortable bringing up this issue to the OP.

      3. Green*

        I also want to flag “allergies” and “phobias” as being *automatically* needing to be accommodated due to ADA. Both of those things come in degrees–from mild discomfort, manageable symptoms and a preference to avoid it to severe reactions that would seriously impact one’s ability to engage in activities of daily living.

        Like “protected classes”, ADA is a buzzword that many HR/managers overreact to. I am allergic to dogs and cats. I have two dogs and a cat and volunteer at the animal shelter because my allergies are manageable. I am also allergic to cigarette smoke (even stale smoke on clothing) and perfumes. There are some allergies that the person with the allergy just has to manage themselves (i.e., peanuts in public places), some that make everyone more comfortable with just minor adjustments (me sitting in open space away from people who wear heavy perfumes or smoke), some that require reasonable accommodations under the ADA, and some that just can’t be resolved because the accommodation that would solve the problem isn’t reasonable. (Also, sometimes people have conflicting accommodations! This also comes into play with religious accommodations vs. nondiscrimination — Bob can’t be alone with women, Jane needs a manager who treats her the same as male colleagues.)

        Responsible HR and managers will probe and make serious efforts to determine where on the spectrum this falls and explore as many options as possible to reach resolution. Asking only one individual to give up a substantial job perk because of an anonymous complaint is not responsible management here in my opinion.

        1. Argh!*

          Yes! I have worked with a few people who demand accommodation without any documentation of an actual disability. Three had a rolling series of demands that became downright ridiculous. I don’t know if they just enjoyed emotional blackmail or truly infantalized themselves to the point that they had numerous actual problems, but they are so so so annoying.

          Someone with one single problem (like getting migraines from perfume) is just fine with me. Someone who starts with perfume then creates a whole series of petty demands loses my respect and sympathy.

      4. Pine cones huddle*

        I would ask if the office was always let friendly. As in which came first? The pets or the people complaining about the dogs. Isn’t an office allowed to say “hey we are pet friendly so if you accept a job hear you need to know that” and is there a reasonable expectation that a person who doesn’t want to be around dogs shouldn’t take that job? I mean, I recently saw a job posting and in the job requirements they specifically said “must be comfortable around dogs, seriously a lot of dogs and large dogs”. So should this place have to change their policy if someone took a job there and then told them by the way, I’m allergic/have a phobia…?

        1. Loony Luna*

          But I think that’s where management/the company has failed in implementing a solid policy. If they want to have a dog friendly policy that’s fine, but that requires for there to be clear guidelines about behaviour, size of breeds allowed potentially, amount of dogs allowed (maybe there shouldn’t be more dogs than people), what happens if a dog makes a mess, phobias, allergies etc etc etc. Maybe this office being ‘dog friendly’ was that Bob and Jane had both been bringing their itty bitty, dogs and so it was never an issue for the person with the phobia. What if the phobia writer was there before the poodle?
          If there were clear guidelines, as well as transparency in the interview process- this probably wouldn’t be an issue right now.

    3. Future Analyst*

      I’d be all over the vacation aspect, but it’s not up to us to decide for the writer what they should value most. Telling someone to be less invested in the thing they care most about isn’t terribly helpful.

      1. grace*

        +1. What is a big deal to someone is nothing to another person; that doesn’t make it any less of a big deal for the first person.

        1. Rebecca*

          I’m very afraid of dogs — bitten and sent to the hospital for stitches three times. I would not want to go to work every day knowing there would be a dog there. I wouldn’t even be able to walk over to OP’s for a work matter!

          1. penty*

            To me though, then dont take a job where this is allowed. Thats like saying “im afraid of fountains so the office should remove it to accomodate me”

            90% of jobs you cant bring a dog in. people like this ruin it for everyone who only searches for jobs with perks like this.

            1. fposte*

              We don’t know what the dog-unhappy employees knew when they took the job, though. And if they’re allergic and not just unhappy, the law is likely to be on their side.

              1. Perse's Mom*

                The letter makes no reference to allergies, though – just fear of dogs and that the LW’s dog is – in the complainant’s opinion – too large for the office. If the complainant is that impacted by dogs in the office, they should make a formal request for accommodation.

                I mean it’s not like there are a lot of offices promoting bring-your-snake-or-tarantula-to-work days, I’m terrified of both of those things (if probably not clinically phobic), but there may be ways to accommodate that fear without revoking the perk for others. Those ways can’t be explored without management knowing who has the issue.

            2. TRex*

              A legitimate dog phobia (or allergy) could have developed after they had already accepted the job. Since this anonymous complainant is anonymous, it’s not certain whether they were working at the company for 1 month or 10 years.

            3. Esme*

              But we don’t know the timeline; why do you assume the complainer took a job there AFTER the perk was initiated? Who’s to say that it wasn’t OP who was the first to inquire about bringing her pet to work? Also, it’s not as though a pet-friendly office is common. If I were interviewing for a job, this isn’t something I’d think to ask about. And the perk might be applied so informally (or maybe only 1 or 2 people take advantage of it), that the hiring manager might not mention it. Also, the manager said it was more than one person who complained anonymously. I for one would need more information before coming down definitely on one side or another.

              1. Elspeth*

                Actually, LW states, “I completely understand where they’re coming from, and I know very few offices would let me bring such a big dog to work regularly. But this was something that influenced my decision to take this job, and has a real impact on my happiness at work. ”

                LW wasn’t the first to inquire – this policy was already in place.

          2. JessaB*

            I get this, I’m not scared of bites and things, as long as the dog is under control, but I’m allergic to a lot of dogs myself, and also none too steady on my feet so running at me dog? Really scarey because I can be very very badly hurt if I fall with what’s wrong with me already. But then running at me children scare me too because the fear is not what’s running, but THAT they’re running and may physically hurt me. I am however more likely to ask for an office in a pet free corridor if I choose to take a job in a pet friendly place.

            And people who are afraid need to be protected TOO. Especially if the dog friendly thing post dates their employment. Also if management is not forthcoming in advance about pet policy, it is unfair to expect a new employee not to have a FIT if they’re allergic/afraid and took the job.

            On the other hand if you were looking for work, all things equal you’d probably self select out of an office where everyone bringing animals was a major perk. Not start there and then complain there are dogs/cats/bunnies/whatever.

            The other problem with anonymous complaints is that you don’t know if the person is allergic/scared or someone trying to undercut the OP. I get that it’s necessary, but I agree with Alison that a discussion regarding it needs to be had. Because you don’t just implement things from a suggestion box will ye nil ye. Because they impact many people, especially since OP is silent on how many other animals are there.

            1. Green*

              People who are allergic or afraid only need to be protected if that allergy or fear rises to a *protected* disability and the accommodation is reasonable.

              1. fposte*

                Do you have any sense of how finely that gets parsed at the HR level? My completely uninformed guess is that it’s all over the map, from places that CYA with compliance with any ADA claim accompanied by a doctor’s note regardless of how slight to places that really don’t care if they breach the ADA or not.

              2. Eliza*

                Aside from the ADA issues, failing to accommodate dog allergies could also fall afoul of racial discrimination laws on disparate-impact grounds. The immune system is one of the fastest-evolving parts of the human genome, and specific allergies are often significantly correlated to race.

      2. Alton*

        Agreed. People should have realistic expectations, but you weigh that against what matters to you and what sacrifices you’d be willing to make. The OP is entitled to care about this (and isn’t obligated to care about things like free food or lots of vacation time if they don’t use those benefits much).

      3. paul*

        It isn’t our place to tell them a perk isn’t nice, but I think it can be reasonable to point that, if you leave over this perk going away…it’s highly unlikely you’ll get another job that does offer it. My brother got to learn that the hard way (left a job because the insurance got worse…but it was still better than the insurance he wound up with at his new job).

      4. anomonom*

        Exactly. The other person was aware that the office is dog-friendly upon being hired (if not, shame on management; they need to find a compromise for *both* parties). She/he took the job under that agreement and doesn’t get to change it.

        1. JM60*

          If someone has a health related need, it should be reasonably accommodated. Depending on the health related reason and the severely of it, getting rid of the perk of bringing dogs to work might be a reasonable accommodation, with there not being any compromise they would both take care of the health issue and allow the bringing of the dog to work.

          Of course, if having dogs in the workplace is somehow intrinsic to the business (e.g., a veterinarian’s office or a pet store), then the health issue probably makes the person unqualified for the job. Otherwise, they shouldn’t have to suffer through health issues just because of a perk that some other employees like.

          1. anomonom*

            I agree but that’s not the point I made. Whatever the perk is, the employee agreed to it upon being hired. They don’t get to insist that a perk they agreed to should now be removed for everyone else.

            1. JM60*

              “They don’t get to insist that a perk they agreed to should now be removed for everyone else.”

              If it’s causing them health issues, then they should be able to request that it be removed. People have the right to not be subject to health/safety issues caused by work, unless it’s somehow intrinsic to the job (e.g., a flight attendant having a small chance of being in a plane crash).

              When you talk about things people “agreed to” in a context where their livelihood depends on it, you have to keep in mind that consent is very tenuous in this arena. There are certain things that someone should never have to ‘consent’ to in order to get a paycheck, unless it’s intrinsically related to the job. This would include things like having to have sex with a film producer (to take an extreme example) or having to donate to charity (much less extreme, but comes up in this blog all the time). I think safety/health issues fall under this. Unless bring around dogs is intrinsic to the business, or there’s a conflict with else’s need for accommodation, people shouldn’t have to ‘consent’ to health issues caused by dogs in order to get a paycheck.

              1. Pine cones huddle*

                If I’m allergic to peanuts, I wouldn’t take a job at a peanut butter factory. If the perk existed before this person was hired and it was clearly stated as a benefit, then shouldn’t the onus be on that person to make a realistic choice when accepting a job?

                1. JM60*

                  Like I mentioned in the post you’re responding to, it makes a difference whether or not the health issue in question is intrinsic to the business. The presence of peanuts is intrinsic to the job at the peanut butter factory, whereas the presence of pets isn’t intrinsic to most businesses (with a few exceptions like a pet shop or a veterinarian’s office). It’s only something that some employees like to have.

                  A better (albeit imperfect) analogy would be working at an accounting firm that provides lunch to everyone, but everything they serve at every lunch is filled with peanuts, even though they know you have a peanut allergy. Maybe everyone in the in this absurd hypothetical office really likes peanuts that much, but unlike the peanut factory, this exposure to peanuts isn’t intrinsic to the business. However, this hypothetical is probably much better for someone with allergy problems than pets in the office, because you could probably avoid most issues by bringing your own lunch. However, pet allergies tend to be airborne, and may not be avoidable in a confined workspace.

                  “If the perk existed before this person was hired and it was clearly stated as a benefit, then shouldn’t the onus be on that person to make a realistic choice when accepting a job?”

                  Not if it’s a significant health threat to someone and it’s not intrinsic to the business.

              2. Betsy*

                I think the definition of health issues is at stake here too. The OP hasn’t mentioned anyone suffering from allergies, so that can be ruled out as an issue.

                I think it’s important to for the company to establish whether the phobia is severe, as in diagnosable as part of an anxiety disorder, or mild, or of moderate severity.

                For me, I am scared if I walk past a fenced yard and dogs are barking aggressively, even if I know they can’t get out. However, that obviously doesn’t cause major issues in my life. If the co-worker has panic attacks when they see or think about a dog, this is very different to if they just don’t like dogs, or feel mildly perturbed about the idea of one being in the building.

                1. JM60*

                  “The OP hasn’t mentioned anyone suffering from allergies, so that can be ruled out as an issue.”

                  It’s possible for someone in the OP’s workplace to be having issues with allergies without the OP knowing. Sometimes it’s very obvious is someone is having allergy problems (e.g., if they’re sneezing all the time), but other times, it’s not as obvious (breathing problems that are moderate and/or occasional). I could be wrong, but I believe that some people who are at high risk of life threatening airborne allergy attacks won’t show obvious signs of allergy problems during their typical day.

            2. TL -*

              What if the person complaining is a highly skilled, rare-find employee who is intrinsic to the employee’s business?
              Perks are nice, but the company exists to fulfill a purpose and that purpose most likely is not to provide doggy day care. Thus, the perks are more flexible than the people.

      5. JM60*

        While I agree that it’s up to each person to decide what they value in a job, or is worth pointing out that this particular perk is a very volatile one because it can rub against other worker’s abilities to have a reasonable hypoallergetic and fear free workplace. If the OP decides to leave this job in favor of another job that offers this perk, she should probably keep in mind that she may run into the same situation in the new job.

    4. Tuesday Next*

      But OP said that “I’m not really interested in most of these — things like unlimited vacation, free food, etc. The only one I care about is being able to bring my dog to work.”

      You’re basically telling them to change their priorities in life which doesn’t make much sense.

    5. TootsNYC*

      I don’t think that’s fair at all. We all get to choose what is most important to us.

      Some of us decide we don’t like our job because our decision-making capability has been taken away from us. And so we go look for another job.

      Maybe finding another job with this perk will be really difficult (and maybe it would be hard to find a job that’s 20 minutes away to allow for noontime visits, or some other workaround), but I think people get to choose their own priorities, and how they affect our lives.

      I had a job with an onsite daycare center. When that was threatened, I went job-hunting.

  7. Anony*

    You could also ask if one day a week could be designated as a day you can bring her in (and keep her confined to your office). That would still be a lot better than you would find at a to of other offices and might be enough to make whoever made the complaint happy since the dog would not be there more often than not. This obviously would only work if you have an office.

    1. Hills to Die on*

      That’s a really good idea too! If they could be flexible, you could work from home 2 days a week, bring her in 1 day, and put her in doggie day care 2 days.

    2. Fiennes*

      Who knows—the person afraid of dogs might LOVE one day a week of working remotely. Maybe not, but it’s worth asking. There may well be a compromise that can leave all parties satisfied.

      1. EddieSherbert*

        We do a monthly dog day at my work, and anyone with allergies/that dislikes dogs/who just doesn’t want to deal with it can work from home that day :)

        (not as nice as weekly, or daily, but a nice “perk” for us!)

        1. JessaB*

          And I presume the cleaning staff is warned so they can vacuum extra to get the pet hair out of the building. So that works nicely

          1. EddieSherbert*

            Yup! And we have designated workspaces where the dogs are allowed (booked conference rooms/offices), so (at least in theory), it’s not the like building is overrun and covered in fur :)

  8. Dog Mom*

    If you don’t have an office, would a crate fit under your desk? They make really nice travel ones (check out Chewy!) that fit my golden retriever just fine. Maybe you could agree to keep your dog crated when you can’t attend to her or she could be contained when you were in meetings or otherwise unable to supervise her.

    I work in a city with a lot of dog friendly offices and many of them only allow a certain number of dogs and only on certain days. Perhaps you can work to better define the perk so everyone can get some of what they ask for.

    1. Plague of frogs*

      There was a lady at my office who had a lovely standard poodle that she brought to work. He stayed crated unless she was walking him or one of us was playing with him. He never made noise or had accidents, and his presence was great stress relief for most of us.

      One person complained, and so the dog had to go. It was…pretty frustrating for everyone else. I wish my company had tried to accommodate the dog and the complainer on different floors. That said, I can understand why someone would complain anonymously. It did generate a lot of anger to have the one bright spot in our day taken away.

      1. Luna*

        The anonymous nature of the complaint is actually the thing that bothers me the most about the OP’s situation. Not only is there no opportunity for something to be worked out that can accommodate both of them, but if the complainer ever leaves the company for another job the ban on dogs still stands, because no one knows who complained! So this one person is removing this perk for everyone at the company, permanently, whether this person continues to work at the company or not. Complaining anonymously just seems so childish to me.

        1. TootsNYC*

          But I can see why someone would do it, and I can see why it’s necessary to have a place to put comments anonymously.

          1. Luna*

            Anonymous complaint boxes are, IMO, typically meant for complaints about managers or company policies that would be difficult for lower-level employees to address. They should not be used to complain about one specific co-worker. These complaints did not ask for the company to revoke the policy itself, they specifically complained just about the OP and her dog. That is not what complaint boxes should be used for, and it can create a really toxic environment if people use them to complain about co-workers behind their backs instead of addressing situations 1-on-1 with that coworker or their manager if need be.

            1. That Lady*

              I hear you, but as someone who is very uncomfortable around dogs, let me tell you most peoples’ responses in re: their dog are completely and resoundingly irrational and borderline bizarre. I would never feel comfortable addressing the issue with my name attached because I know I would be hounded (groan) until I left the job about hating dogs and ruining peoples’ lives. Not worth it.

              1. Perse's Mom*

                If there were likely scenarios for accommodation that allowed LW’s dog to remain and you to avoid said dog, would you still leave it anonymous, though? Or would you approach a manager you trust to say ‘I’m really uncomfortable around dogs, but I recognize that a number of my coworkers really value being able to bring their dogs to work. I would like to consider X or Y as possible solutions, what do you think?’

                Or even offering possible solutions IN the anonymous note! ‘All dogs should be resident in Cubicles A through F only and owners should use Hall Z when coming or going with their dog. This would allow dog owners to retain the dog-in-office perk while letting coworkers avoid the dogs if they so wish, and allow our cleaners to focus their pet-cleaning efforts in specific areas.’

                1. That Lady*

                  I personally would still leave them anonymously, yes. People are, in my experience, completly irrational about their dogs and have very strange, over the top reactions that include bullying, freezing out, and other ridiculous, childish behavior. BUT I feel so strongly about not working in a place with dogs that I would just silently start looking for new employment. It wouldn’t be worth it to me to deal with–either the dog or anyone’s reaction to objecting to the dog.

        2. JM60*

          “but if the complainer ever leaves the company for another job the ban on dogs still stands, because no one knows who complained!”

          I suppose you could get around this by occasionally (perhaps a few times a year) float the idea of allowing pets again, suggesting that people leave anonymous complaints of that would cause a problem for them. If someone leaves an anonymous complaint similar to the one before, you can reasonably infer that they haven’t left (or that someone with similar issues has joined).

          I don’t think we should fault people for complaining anonymously in cases like these. I think it makes sense to shield people from the unfair ire of others when there are potential health or phobia issues at play.

          1. Zombeyonce*

            I like this suggestion. People can be incredibly sensitive about their pets and I understand not wanting to publicly say you don’t want dogs in an office when other people are gung-ho about it.

        3. Afraid of beasts*

          It’s not childish. It’s childish to think less of someone because they don’t like your dog. But in our pet worshipping culture saying you don’t like dogs can be a social suicide. I hate dogs and I’m very afraid of them. I don’t think I should limit my choice of places I can work for if the job has nothing to do with animals. Dogs at work are a luxury. I shouldn’t be forced to be around dogs every day but I don’t want all the dog lovers to hate me either. When most dog lovers learn to react in a mature way to someone not liking their pet and not wanting to be around them (so never) then it will be safe to complain publicly.

          1. Bagpuss*

            The thing is, management could address that – the concern could be raised to a manager, if the policy then changes then no-one other than the manager / HR needs to know who raised the issue. I think there is a middle ground between changing the policy based on a single anon. complaint, and having to make it publicly known to everyone who raised a concern.

          2. Plague of frogs*

            This is not particular to dog owners (I am not one, by the way). If you tell anyone that you have a blanket hatred for a type of creature that they have a close personal relationship with, it will get you disliked. Shouldn’t it? You’re being extremely rude.

            Try framing your statement as a self-depreciating, “Oh, I have a terrible phobia of dogs. I’m sure yours is lovely and I’m sorry I can’t appreciate that, but I need him to be away from me.” I think you will find you get a different response from most people.

            1. Astor*

              Sure, but a not-insignificant number of people:
              * only hear that I hate a type of creature and find me rude
              * only hear that I’m sure their dog is lovely, and so don’t bother to do anything to help
              * both of the above

              1. Plague of frogs*

                Yeah, I know those people. They’re the ones that thrust their infants into my unwilling arms.

                Still, if you use preemptive rudeness because of those people, you are, not unnaturally, going to offend everyone. Including a lot of people who would have respected your phobia if you had been polite.

            2. Afraid of beasts*

              I am polite. I don’t say I hate dogs. I’m just very scared of them and it’s hard not to show it. I try to be positive about the terrible hairy creatures. That’s why I welcome anonymous box complaints – so that people don’t end up hating me for wanting their dog away from me.

              1. Argh!*

                There are therapies for getting over fears. If you feel you shouldn’t have to live in fear, de-sensitising therapy will be the best answer for you.

        4. Academic Addie*

          Agreed. Are the employees next going to all complain anonymously that someone is using vacation days wrong, and get them taken away for everyone? I can see the need for anonymous suggestions, but removing perks of someone’s employment based on anonymous feedback seems really extreme.

          1. Afraid of beasts*

            Vacation days are totally different. People should be entitled to paid vacation and is crazy that they’re not in the US. And someone using vacation days doesn’t cause extreme discomfort to their coworkers – unless management is really bad and doesn’t know how to plan for people not being there 100% of the time.

            1. Academic Addie*

              But they’re a perk, and they aren’t legally mandated. They could be taken away. If I were OP, I’d certainly wonder what other restrictions of benefits, or other workplace changes I’d be subject to because someone complained anonymously.

            2. Plague of frogs*

              So what about any other perk?
              -Your workplace has free alcohol. A non-drinker starts working and insists that it be removed.
              -Your workplace has free food. A compulsive over-eater starts working and insists that it be removed.
              -Your workplace allows you to bring in your children. Someone who doesn’t like children starts working and insists that they can no longer come in.
              -Your workplace provides caffeinated coffee. Someone with a religious objection gets it removed.

              The list goes on…incidentally, I would never work at a job where people routinely brought their children in. But I sure as heck wouldn’t start working at that job, and then insist all the children be removed.

              I wouldn’t work at a job that requires me to wear shoes, or won’t let me swear. These are just basic cultural fit things that I find out about when I interview.

          2. Zombeyonce*

            Except that someone using their vacation days in an unacceptable way doesn’t have anything to do with someone else’s work. Having a dog at the office is a completely different type of perk, one that’s rare for a reason (allergies, phobias, liability). No one wants to be the person that “ruined the fun” by asking someone not bring in a pet. There are quite a few comments here that prove how upset people would get at that perk being taken away, and it’s hard to tell who might be vindictive about it if they knew it was you.

            1. Academic Addie*

              Sure, it’s different. But it’s not legally mandated, so it could be taken away. A reasonable workplace wouldn’t take them away, but I don’t think a reasonable workplace would take away any perk just on an anonymous note. I’m not saying the person should have to go public in front of the office, but I don’t see why discretely telling a manager that you require an ADA accommodation for allergies or phobia is such a big deal, especially when it comes to taking other people’s perks away.

              1. Zombeyonce*

                I think that, aside from this commentariat, the general working population wouldn’t realize that allergies and phobias could fall under ADA to even consider that. I know that I didn’t have any idea they did until I started reading this blog.

  9. Penny Lane*

    I would feel differently if there were an explicitly pet-accommodating workplace (say, the owners had dogs around, so it would be considered no big deal for employees to add their own to the mix, assuming of course that all are well-behaved). It feels to me – and I may be mistaken – that the granting of permission to bring the dog was more of a “I guess it’s fine” rather than “OMG we are so excited to meet your dog!!” in which case I think you just have to deal with the fact that in 99% of workplaces, dogs don’t get brought in.

    Just because the complaints are anonymous don’t mean they aren’t real, and I wouldn’t put too much stock in “but my coworkers seem to like Fido!” I wouldn’t want a dog in my workplace either, I would make use of an anonymous complaint box, yet I could easily fake caring about the dog when it was there or pretending that I care enough to go “awww, Fido’s not in today!” when really I’m secretly delighted. I think there’s a lot of faux small talk around these things (just like when someone brings a baby in the office and everyone coos and goos).

    1. Alice*

      I get why people might feel uncomfortable talking to OP about not liking her dog, but I don’t understand why someone would actively pretend to like the dog when that’s not true.

      1. Emi.*

        Because some dog owners get really upset if you don’t like dogs in general and their dogs in particular. Some will go so far as to call you a “heartless monster” or shove their dogs at you (“But he’s so friendly!”), and it’s very, very difficult to tell in advance which ones are going to be like this and which ones are going to be reasonable.

        1. K.*

          Yeah, I don’t like cats. I would never harm one, of course, but I don’t like having them around, I don’t want them sitting in my lap, I don’t want to pet them, I don’t find pictures of them interesting … I don’t like them. People are horrified by this. I’ve literally been called a monster. “What kind of person doesn’t like cats?” Or “But my cat is cute!” Or they try to uncover some deep-seated fear – was I attacked by a cat? No, I just don’t like them in the same way I don’t like asparagus. I’m not out here trying to rid the world of asparagus, but if it is presented to me, I will decline, and I don’t incorporate it into my life. There’s nothing monstrous about that.

          I would just ignore an office cat, but I could see keeping my dislike of them hidden at work and I would absolutely be relieved if an edict banning cats from the office were issued. I don’t think I’d complain publicly because that AAM letter about the workplace where everyone turned on the allergic colleague is burned in my mind, and I’ve known some overzealous pet owners. If I knew the office was pet-friendly during the hiring process, I would opt out – I like medium to big dogs but I just don’t think pets belong at work.

          1. legalchef*

            I would love to get a kitten, except I am highly allergic. But I wouldn’t want a cat, anyway. Cats are evil and will steal your soul. :)

            1. Brittasaurus Rex*

              A lot of people are open about disliking cats, but it seems less acceptable if you don’t like dogs. I much prefer cats, but dogs are fine. I don’t think I’d even say that to some dog owners!

              Cats ain’t evil. We humans is.

              1. Jeannie Nitro*

                I read a comment once that suggested that perhaps it’s because in our culture, cats are associated with women (“cat lady”, all of the various cat-themed sexual slang relating to women) and dogs are associated with men, which is why it’s considered more acceptable to hate on cats but not on dogs.

              2. Relly*

                I am perfectly okay with my cats being called evil, because they are adorable tiny serial killers that purr and snuggle and chirp.

                I am weird, yes.

          2. Dolorous Bread*

            I mean, I HAVE a cat and I don’t like pictures of peoples’ cats. I also have 2 dogs, and literally everything a dog does is more interesting (to me) than what a cat does.
            Similarly, I find everything dogs do more interesting and cute than anything my colleagues’ kids do. I guess I am a heartless monster.


          3. Julia the Survivor*

            I didn’t see the letter about the allergic colleague, but people should never be blamed for allergies! Allergies are *not* voluntary or chosen! This is one of my specialties, since I have several – but luckily not to animals!
            I like cats more than dogs. I used to have cats and I think they’re great. When I was younger and living in a more ignorant place, I encountered many men who, when I mentioned my cat, would say “I HATE cats!” and then rant about the one bad experience they had with one cat. K., maybe if these people have encountered such ignorance, it might explain some of the attitudes you’ve encountered.

            1. K.*

              Oh, you MUST read the letters about the woman who found herself in an office full of dogs & she was allergic to dogs. AAM classic. (Spoiler: her office was bonkers.)

          4. Plague of frogs*

            I have pet rats, and recognize that a lot of people have a strong dislike or phobia of my darling angels. So, no pictures of them up at work, and no talking about their cute antics except to co-workers who have specifically opted in.

            That said, there is a workplace in my area that has office rats (that live in a cage, not free-range). If you take that job, you should like or at least be able to tolerate rats.

          5. Argh!*

            Workplaces that have cats don’t confine them. Cat lovers seem to think it’s cute that cats roam the neighborhood, jump onto book shelves, knock stuff off the counter, etc. Well-trained dogs don’t do those things, and in most dog-friendly workplaces they are confined behind a baby gate or in a crate, not roaming loose.

          6. Teddie*

            Wow. If a person says “I’m not a cat person” I stop there, not shove cats in your face or get all emo about how horrible you must be that you hate cats. They are the inconsiderate people. I won’t even try to ask my in-laws to cat-sit if I knew they hated cats (good thing MIL doesn’t mind, but I always make sure she wants to do it every time). I don’t care much for human kids – so I’d be pretty annoyed if someone just tried to shove their babes into my arms trying to convince me otherwise. People bring their babies to the office and I don’t gush over them compared with my other coworkers but I politely smile then really just leave people be. I make my own share of gushing when my coworker brings her Schnauzer pup. :P

            People have preferences, and I really don’t care about the reason as long as they aren’t rude or cruel about it.

        2. Spreadsheets and Books*

          This is so true. I’m a huge cat lover, but I’m allergic to canine saliva and, quite frankly, I just don’t like dogs. I don’t want to be around them, I don’t want to play with them, I don’t want to have to worry about one licking me… I just don’t like dogs.

          But god forbid you ever say that to a dog owner. I have had so many people get irrationally angry about the fact that, quite simply, I just don’t like dogs. I feel like not liking cats is far more normal and acceptable, but not liking dogs is akin to murder or something.

          1. Salyan*

            “People who don’t like cats always seem to think that there is some peculiar virtue in not liking them.” — L.M. Montgomery

        3. bonkerballs*

          So, so true. I just love those dog owners who brush aside the trauma of a very serious attack I suffered as a kid and tell me that of course I couldn’t help by love their angel, everyone loves their doggo, he’s the absolute best creature in the world.

          1. Zombeyonce*

            The worst is when they tell you their dog is the best and so well behaved while that dog is trying to jump on you “just to give you kisses”. Those owners make the rest look bad.

        4. agmat*

          I’m sure some do get upset, but I’ve never had push back regarding this (coworkers, friends, strangers). I don’t like dogs and generally ignore them or even push them away when they come toward me for “kisses.” Maybe it’s just because I’m blunt about it, but no one has ever forced their dog upon me. And if someone ever does, that’s their problem because I won’t tolerate it.

      2. Boris*

        Because saying you don’t like animals to people who love animals is akin to telling them you’d like to defecate on their beloved family members’ graves, in my experience.

      3. Rusty Shackelford*

        For the same reason they pretend to like babies who are brought into the office. Because they’re afraid of being judged.

        1. JaneB*

          I do it – I do not like dogs in general (though I’ve known some lovely ones) and I do not like having a dog in my office building – I also think pets at work in a work building are not appropriate – I don’t like that the dog pees on the grass around the building every day etc, and I hate that colleague with dog asks for breaks in meetings to take the dog out to pee (which takes longer than a human comfort break). But I’m not the decision maker and as it’s not an allergy or a phobia, I am friendly and polite to the dog when i encounter if, ask it’s loving owner about its welfare as I would any other pet I know folks are fond of, and even pet it when offered if I can easily wash my hands before I need to do anything work like (it’s got nice silky fur). It’s a very good dog – it’s not ITS fault I don’t much like dogs and don’t think they belong at work. But if I was asked in a way which wouldn’t get back to the owner, I’d definitely say I’d rather it wasn’t here most days.

        2. The Other Dawn*

          Yup, that’s why I pretend to like babies and kids in general. I’ll smile at them and tell their parents they’re cute, but I’m just being nice. To say I’m not a kid person means I’m a monster. Or, in my earlier days, I’m just going through a phase, or it will be different when I have my own, etc. Luckily I’m entering my mid-40s so people don’t say that to me anymore.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I like dogs.
            I like cats.
            I like kids.

            I don’t like any of them if they’re not well-behaved, and that’s on the owners/parents. I lose respect for people who don’t seem to care for their dogs/cats/kids properly, and that includes training and discipline. It’s not only an issue of them not crawling all over me and drooling, but of safety, both for the beings in their care and other people. Obviously, especially with kids, nobody is perfect 24/7. But it’s the complete lack of effort that bugs me.

          2. Zombeyonce*

            I have my own kid and I STILL don’t like other people’s kids. I am definitely a heartless monster.

          3. Relly*

            I love babies but don’t want to have any of my own, which also qualifies me for “heartless monster” status.

          4. Argh!*

            I can’t stand babies. I don’t know why. Once they start walking I think they’re cute, but I’m not entranced by spit-up and poop. And yet people will shove a baby into my arms as if it’s just something all people are expected to do, or like I should think I’m lucky to be holding it. They all look the same to me, but I’ll say how cute they are and go along with the social niceties. I won’t go as far as claiming I see a resemblance, though, because I never do. They don’t look like their parents to me. They look like other peoples’ babies.

      4. katydid*

        As someone who is lukewarm to animals, I find that it is almost politically incorrect to not love dogs. I certainly underplay my indifference to other people’s animals. I can imagine that in a workplace, where there are other interpersonal dynamics and politics at place, that would be magnified.

      5. Mb13*

        Why do people say “You don’t look fat in that dress” or “I can definitely see you doing it you should apply” or “no I don’t find your friend attractive” or “oh wow it’s so delicious”?

        Because they are being polite.

    2. 5 Leaf Clover*

      Yes – I hate dogs but have gotten such horrified reactions from people when I confess to not wanting their pets around me that it makes me uncomfortable expressing it. And the OP seems to feel so strongly about this that of course they’d be resentful of the person who got this perk taken away. As someone who would be miserable with a dog in the workplace, I feel sorry for this coworker (and grateful that my office is pet-free.)

      1. Mousie Housie*

        Agreed 10,000,000%. Workplaces are for the benefit and comfort of people, not pets.

        I do not like dogs because:

        1) Most of them smell and shed fur.
        2) Most of them bark. Some of them whine. Loudly.
        3) Most of them wander over/jump up on people without warning.

        Aside from the whining, my human coworkers do none of the above. “No” training is a work in progress…

        1. ThatGirl*

          My pupper hardly ever barks. and while he wanders over for pets or attention, he doesn’t jump.

          But he does whine sometimes, and I’m sure he smells like cornchips sometimes. So if someone’s not a dog person, that’s their right, and I get it.

          1. bonkerballs*

            But see for someone who doesn’t like dogs, that wandering over for pets and attention is just as unwelcome as the jumping.

        2. Health Insurance Nerd*

          Replace the “most” with “some”, and you are correct. You’re obviously free to dislike dogs, but classifying most of them as smelly, loud, and badly behaved is inaccurate.

        3. Elizabeth West*

          The smell is the only thing that really bothers me about some dogs. A friend of mine has two French mastiffs and they drool–a LOT. Drool washes off, no big deal. Hell, my cat would drool when I held and petted her.
          Another friend’s entire house reeks of her dogs and it’s overwhelming.

          I grew up with dogs and cats, but they were outside. It does take some getting used to for me to be around inside dogs, especially if they are a little stinky. When they’re outside, it’s not so bad. An ex and I had seven outside dogs at one point, and I gave them all a very thorough bath a couple of times a year. They all had flea treatments and were wormed. (Tip: to bathe large wiggly dogs, leash them to a pole and use a kiddy pool!)

          If the office dog were clean and friendly and well-behaved, I’d be okay. But if he were smelly, I don’t know how I’d feel about it. I wouldn’t want to have a client meeting with dog scent lingering around me.

            1. K.*

              I worked for a PR firm where someone floated the idea of an office pet day and the CEO vetoed it immediately because there were clients in the office pretty regularly and you never know who’s allergic, phobic, etc. (Plus the office design was horrible for pets, which she pointed out, and since there had never been pets in the office before, we couldn’t know if they would all play nicely, and God forbid we had to break up any fights.)

        4. Argh!*

          They’re all different. I have one that would be a total pest, but I have another one that would just go to sleep and only bother me if he had to potty. They are trained rather well, but the boy will jump on people. If they’re not dog people I explain they just need to bump out their knee and he backs right down (not training – they all do that).

          They also shouldn’t smell bad. Dogs with oily coats may get stinky, but that’s what doggy shampoo is for.

      2. DrAtos*

        I am an animal lover, but my mother really dislikes being around animals. She has allergies and her skin is sensitive. She also had had bad experiences with neighbors who don’t pick up after their dogs. I don’t blame the animals, I blame the pet owners, a growing number of whom view their animals more important than the safety and comfort of human beings. Even though I like animals in general, I also do not feel comfortable around pit bulls, many of which live in my state. I also dislike people who bring animals into areas that should/need to be very sanitary such as grocery stars (especially the hot food/salad bar) and hospitals.

        It’s unfortunate for OP that his/her co-workers are uncomfortable with her pet, but if there is even one person who feels that way, I do think that the worker’s comfort/safety needs to be a priority. Although progressive to have a pet-friendly work culture, I really don’t see how this can be implemented without opening up a lot of conflicts among people who aren’t pet lovers or who are allergic to pets, and potentially lawsuits if someone gets bitten by a co-worker’s pet. If I were an employer, I wouldn’t even start a perk like this one. It’s the same with children. Okay to bring in during an emergency, but not everyday. I had a co-worker who brought her son in once and she apologized to everyone although we were okay with it and know that she is a single mother. I could see this becoming a problem if she were to bring him in every week, or if more people in the office started bringing in their children. I feel the same way with a pet. Cute once in a while, but ultimately a distraction for workers who choose not to have children or pets, and don’t want to deal with them in an office setting.

        1. Julia the Survivor*

          I’ve met many very nice pit bulls. Apparently it all depends on how they were raised/treated.
          Dogs have been trendy where I live for several years now. All the yuppies and hipsters have dogs (at least it seems like it). I’ve seen dogs in grocery stores a few times recently. I thought that was against the law? Also what about customers or staff who are allergic?
          I work in a hospital and we have therapy dogs! I see them and their handlers coming and going.

          1. Argh!*

            Breeding can affect temperament, just like human DNA can affect personality traits & mental illness. So it’s not 100% training.

            1. Julia the Survivor*

              All I know is, I’ve met several pit bulls and most were very nice, respectful and friendly. One or two were ok, not friendly but not threatening.

            2. KellyK*

              Sure, but that has much more to do with dog aggression than aggression toward people. It’s dog aggression, not human aggression, that pit bulls have been bred for. If anything, the people who breed pit bulls specifically as fighting dogs select *against* aggression toward humans, because the last thing they want is for the animals they’re horribly abusing to turn on them.

              The primary issue with pit bulls in a lot of cases is that it’s a popular breed with people who want a dog that looks tough to stick on a chain in the back yard and not really socialize them, and dogs who live like that tend to become aggressive. (I’d be pissy too if I were outside on a chain all day.) I haven’t been able to find a source for it today, but I seem to recall reading that in Alaska, the majority of dog bites are by sled dog breeds, for similar reasons.

    3. Natalie*

      I’m not sure where you’re getting the idea that allowing the dog was some specific perk granted to OP? They describe the office as dog-friendly and only asked management about their dog specifically because it was large.

        1. JayneCobb*

          Does the fact that the office is upfront about being dog-friendly change anything about how the manager should respond to the anonymous complaint? It seems like if they let people know upon hiring that dogs are a thing, then that person loses a bit of standing to anonymously get rid of the perk for everyone else later on for no apparent reason.

          1. KHB*

            It sounds like the office is upfront about being small-dog friendly, and the complaints have centered on the fact that OP’s dog is not a small dog. So they’re not trying to get rid of the perk for “everyone else” (and it’s not “for no apparent reason”) – they’re taking issue with the exception that OP was granted.

            1. Luna*

              I don’t think the OP was granted an exception, it sounded like OP was asking to be polite and confirm that the policy applied to all dogs, big and small.

              1. KHB*

                …which means that the OP had reason to think the policy might not apply to dogs the size of hers. Which means her dog-averse coworkers might reasonably have been under the same impression.

          2. LCL*

            It doesn’t change how the manager should respond to the anonymous complaint. Managers shouldn’t respond to anonymous complaints of this nature, period. Allowing complaints of this type to drive work policies is wrong.

          3. JM60*

            Even if they were upfront about being a dog friendly workplace, an employer shouldn’t put someone in a position where they have to choose between being employed and being healthy (with very few exceptions). For some people with allergies, the presence of dogs can be a health issue.

            1. Elspeth*

              We don’t know how long the policy was in place prior to LW working there, though. And presumably, if there were allergies (none of the complaints were about allergies), the affected person should have contacted HR about an accomodation. It’s also not clear whether or not all dogs are now banned from the office, or just LW’s dog.

              1. JM60*

                “And presumably, if there were allergies (none of the complaints were about allergies), the affected person should have contacted HR about an accomodation.”

                It sounds like they may have request accommodation, but anonymously. Given how many people on this thread are basically saying that someone with dog allergies shouldn’t have taken a job there, I think it’s very understandable that they would want to request the accommodation through an anonymous complaint rather than identify themselves as the one needing the accommodation.

                Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if the OP’s employer is too small to have an HR department. In my experience, most dog-friendly businesses are small, which makes sense given that the larger the company is, the much greater odds that dogs in the workplace would cause problems for some. You’re usually not going to have a 100% acceptance rate for a pets at work and 0% of employees with allergy issues unless you don’t have many employees.

                1. JM60*


                  In cases where you fear retaliation, it makes sense to at least give the anonymous complaint a try before trying a make an official, legally-protected, request for accommodation. That’s what I would do in a case like this where fear of retaliation is very reasonable.

          4. KellyK*

            I think it does, but it probably depends on a lot of factors that we can’t know. Did the person complaining know about the policy when they were hired, or were they there before the office became dog-friendly? Did they disclose their phobia and get some reassurances that it wouldn’t be an issue, that later turned out not to be the case? Or did they get attacked by a dog after being hired and the phobia is a new thing?

            (Being scared of large dogs isn’t “no apparent reason,” though.)

      1. Say what, now?*

        That’s also how I read it. I think the misunderstanding is coming from the fact that the Manager was mentioned to have specifically talked to the OP about their dog, but there’s nothing to suggest that the Manager didn’t have this one-on-one with multiple people. I would do it one-on-one myself because this would probably be heart-breaking to hear.

    4. I Love Thrawn*

      I like dogs, LOVE my cats, but I believe offices should be pet free. It solves so many problems before they even get started.

    5. hbc*

      So I agree that there’s a difference between enthusiastic welcoming and grudging allowance, but I think you’re taking it way too far. Being all “Oh, I miss your doggy” while dropping a complaint in the box is pretty messed up.

      I realize that people are worried about Crazy Pet Owners hyperventilating because not everyone loves their pets, but you are far, far better off being known as the person who’s a little standoffish than the person who says one thing but feels and does the opposite.

      1. Alice*

        I agree. Between “I hate dogs!” and “Fido’s so cute!” there is plenty of space. Or just change the subject. But don’t lie about it.
        A to B: “I’m going to eat lunch in our shared workspace. If the smell annoys you, let me know and I will move.”
        B to A: “That’s fine, it smells good.”
        B, anonymously, to manager: “Make A quit it with smelly food at her desk!”

        1. Lissa*

          Yeah, I don’t like kids or dogs and I don’t yell “I hate children and puppies!” but I don’t act more than indifferent, to be honest. I also probably wouldn’t apply in an office if I knew there were likely to be dogs there. Or kids. Me pretending to like them would be pretty ridiculous!

  10. stefanielaine*

    I’m not objective because I’m allergic to and terrified of dogs, but I have found that there’s often a difference between how “sweet, well-trained, and friendly” a dog’s owner thinks the dog is vs. reality. I have many dog-owning friends who describe their dogs as well-behaved, but when I go to their houses the dogs jump up on me, lick me, bark at me, and it makes me dread visiting these friends. The friends are so accustomed to what they consider to be normal dog behavior that don’t even notice. Just a thought, OP – maybe your dog is more disruptive than you think?

    I really, really empathize with the person who left an anonymous note. No one wants to be known as the reason Sally can’t bring her dog anymore. How many stories have we seen here where a person is singled out as the person who complained about something because people get mad that they can’t do that thing anymore? A lot! There’s a good chance the complainer’s work life would get worse. Please, I beg of you, do not try to find out who wrote the note. It’s real, and there’s a reason the person doesn’t want to be known.

      1. Hills to Die on*

        I don’t think it is the perfect comment, because of one key fact: the more writer works at an office with a culture of bringing dogs in. If there was a Behavior issue then that should be addressed and the op should have a chance to correct it. If dogs are a problem for someone, they should not work in an office where dogs are allowed.

        1. chocolate lover*

          It sounds like the office is friendly to small dogs, and the OP is bringing in a larger dog. Dog size can be a differentiating factor for someone’s fear and anxiety. Maybe the coworker was told only small dogs came in to the office.

          1. Fiennes*

            There’s nothing in the letter saying the policy only welcomes small dogs. LW says only that hers is larger than others in the office, but that may be pure coincidence, not an exception to policy.

      2. Jules the 3rd*

        Standard poodles (and greyhounds) are the dog breeds Least Likely to jump up. Standards are very smart, eager to please, and relatively easy to train.

        While your comment is absolutely true sometimes, and I totally understand why the note was anonymous and sympathize with the complainer, I am going to trust the letterwriter about her assessment of her dog’s behavior, because:
        1) the rules of the AAM site ask that we believe the letterwriters
        2) the temperament of her dog’s breed supports it and
        3) the anonymous notes themselves don’t claim the dog is behaving badly

    1. Don't Blame Me*

      I agree. I am wary of larger dogs, especially German Shepherds, because my grandparents owned one who tried to attack me twice and I would have been injured if it weren’t for the quick thinking of other people each time. Also, I just don’t like dogs that much. Sure they have lots of great qualities, but I hate slobber. I hate dog smell. I would really just rather not be around them. I can be adequately nice to a dog if a friend has one, even willingly petting and scratching it, because I’m not a monster, but if you asked me I would rather just not have to deal with a dog, ever.

      Maybe the OP can invest in a nice doggy day care or a dog walker so that the dog isn’t completely alone while they are at work.

      1. The Original Flavored K*

        Doggy day care costs as much or almost as much as human day care — I was paying four hundred a month when I sent my dog to daycare, and that was an outdoor, on-the-gravel, not-particularly-nice place. It priced me out of a great job that I actually really loved in the only part of the Southeastern US I didn’t want to set on fire.

        But sure, let’s just blithely suggest that a total stranger take on a serious new financial obligation! That’ll work PERFECTLY.

        1. Snark*

          Seconded. Let’s not forget that the anonymous complainer is making a huge ask here. Even a dog walker is not cheap.

          1. Penny Lane*

            Saying that a dogwalker is not cheap is irrelevant, though. I don’t get to bring my infant into the operating room or judge’s chambers because daycare is not cheap. It’s generally assumed that someone who brings a child into this world understands that there is a need to pay for care for that child while the parent(s) are at work. I don’t see why it’s any different for someone who decides to own a dog.

            1. Snark*

              As I and many others have pointed out, that expense was essentially made part of OP’s compensation. Those expenses were effectively covered by the employer. If OP were granted any given perk with monetary value, whether it be free childcare or dog-friendliness or a bus pass or a gym membership, and that was revoked and they were forced to spend actual money to access the same service, the argument would be the same .

            2. Lissa*

              Well but I think it would be reasonable to be upset if your work offered a perk that meant you didn’t have to pay for childcare, either by bringing in the child or having free on-site care and then it was removed, yes? It would be a sudden unexpected expense. Maybe unavoidable but I don’t think it’s realistic to think the LW should just say “well, them’s the breaks!” either.

            3. Natalie*

              But this office was explicitly dog friendly before the OP started working there. I’m not sure why you keep ignoring that.

            4. Alexandra Hamilton*

              ^^ amen. OP already had a dog when she took this job and presumably figured out a way to meet the dog’s needs before. It isn’t a big surprise.

            5. Pet sitter*

              Hi, I’m a dog walker. I imagine I would have many more customers if my price were irrelevant!

              If taking a baby to work were normal in your workplace, and that was part of why you decided to take the job, it would be very understandable for the loss of that perk to make you reconsider some things.

            6. LBK*

              For those objecting to Penny Lane’s comment, I feel like you’re missing this part at the top of the thread: “But sure, let’s just blithely suggest that a total stranger take on a serious new financial obligation! That’ll work PERFECTLY.”

              The point is that you already committed to caring for your dog – regardless of your job circumstances – when you decided to adopt them. If you aren’t prepared for that possibility, don’t adopt a dog. That doesn’t mean the OP isn’t entitled to be annoyed about losing this perk, but it’s not an absurd idea that she may have to spend money to care for the living creature she adopted.

              If the dog got sick and the vet said it needed surgery, would you say “Wow, how dare you blithely suggest that I take on a serious new financial obligation!” No, because that’s insane – you agreed to pay for those kinds of expenses when you got the dog, whether it’s what you were expecting at that moment in your life or not. Circumstances change and you don’t have to like it but you can’t be offended by it either.

              1. Miles*

                If OP were writing in about the on-site daycare for her kids being closed down it’d be rude and incorrect to say that the price of replacement daycare is irrelevant and shouldn’t be discussed because she is obliged to take care of her child. OP has several options here besides doggy day care and the price of doggy day care relative to other options is relevant to which one she chooses.

                1. JessaB*

                  Particularly since this job may have paid less than other jobs and she can’t afford an expense she was told when hired she would not have to take on. Same with elder care, child care, gym memberships, free food in the company canteen. Many times these jobs don’t pay as much as others because they count things like “you don’t have to pay for food to eat at work, so you buy less groceries, you don’t have to pay for childcare, so you spend less,” in their compensation plans.

                  Whilst OP may have been able to afford dog care in prior jobs, OP may have taken a small pay cut to get a job where they didn’t have to pay to care for the dog. Now they’re going to have to pay for the dog and I guarantee their salary will not go up for the lost perk. No matter what the perk is, that never happens when it’s gone.

                2. LBK*

                  If OP were writing in about the on-site daycare for her kids being closed down it’d be rude and incorrect to say that the price of replacement daycare is irrelevant and shouldn’t be discussed because she is obliged to take care of her child.

                  Frankly I disagree. But it’s not that the price is irrelevant, it’s that you should be really cautious about taking on the responsibility of caring for another living being if you aren’t financially secure enough to cover emergencies/sudden changes in circumstances. My whole point is that I understand that doggy daycare is expensive – so don’t get a dog if you’re too poor to pay for anything but basic daily necessities, because things happen and you’re financially responsible for taking care of that animal.

                  I think a lot of this is driven by my frustration with people who only consider everyday costs like food when adopting a pet and then panic when suddenly they get a huge hospital bill or something else like this happens. I think it’s unfair to the animal to commit to taking care of them when you don’t actually have the means to fully follow through on that commitment.

                  And I’ll say again that none of this is to say that the OP has no right to be frustrated about the rule changing when it’s part of the reason she took the job. I completely, 100% agree (see my own similar situation below where I got kicked out of an apartment for having a cat after being told pets were allowed). My sole point is that I don’t think you have a right as a pet owner to be aghast at the idea that you might have to spend a lot of money to take care of them. You should know that when you adopt.

              2. DMR*

                OP stated she took this job because it was dog friendly and otherwise the logistics wouldn’t have worked for her.

                I work about ten minutes from home – I go home at lunch and walk my dog. The OP could have been in a similar situation. She was assured she could bring her dog when she took this job and now being told otherwise may rightfully a significant issue for her.

        2. fposte*

          It works for a lot of people, though; it’s not like Don’t suggested buying the building next door or hiring a team of servants.

          1. K.*

            Yeah, I remember my best friend telling me that she was happy her child care costs went down to $1000 a month (and this was before they’d had their second child) when she moved to a city with a lower COL.

              1. Zombeyonce*

                Mine is more than my mortgage! And the discount we get when the kid hits milestone ages is eaten up by the yearly increases.

        3. Pet Friend*

          What about costs to the people at the office who are allergic or afraid? What if they need allergy shots or new meds and doctor’s appointments? What if someone who is afraid has to go to therapy? Why does this dog who is not employed trump the employees? I’m sorry if you have a dog then you need to be prepared for the extra costs that could come. OP could maybe ask for a little reimbursement to help with these costs but framing it as a “WHY DO I HAVE TO SPEND MONEY!!!!” as opposed to be considerate of allergies and fears is going to reflect poorly on OP. It’s very self absorbed. We are not saying OP has to go broke because of a bunch of cry babies. We are saying the manager has addressed this. It is reality. OP is going to have to accommodate somehow whether they find a new job that lets their dog come in or plans like many other pet owners to have care provided while the owner is a work.
          These comments kind of exist in a dream world. OP can push back but to back themselves into a corner over this will reflect poorly on them. It just will. If a manager tells you something – you do it. You respect your coworkers allergies and fears and don’t whine about money.
          If the dog is a make or break situation OP can tell manager that this was a big reason they took the job and now they have to reevaluate that decision. Management is more in their rights to say tough cookies – good luck on the job search. Just because OP is upset doesn’t mean they get to overrule everyone else.

          1. Snark*

            You’re not wrong, but you’re being overly hardass. Just because the complainer is afraid and has allergies doesn’t mean THEY get to overrule everyone else, by the very same logic you’re applying. The notional expenses of the d0g-phobic are just that – notional. And giving someone a perk, letting them make budget and career decisions based on that, and then yanking it because of an anonymous complaint – yeah, she’s entitled to be upset.

            1. Snark*

              And frankly, if you need therapy to deal with a dog at work, you should not be at a dog-friendly office.

            2. Hills to Die on*

              That’s the key point for me. One anonymous note and the company culture does a major change for just the OP? I think the manager made the wrong decision. It merits further investigation and looking for solutions.

              1. Alli525*

                This was exactly my concern as well. I understand the complainer not wanting to discuss this directly with OP, but it should have been brought to a manager so OP could have a discussion about alternatives before issuing the ban. For all we know the complainer could be lying and not afraid of dogs at all, but has a vendetta against OP and knows her weak spot.

              2. Rusty Shackelford*

                There were actually three complaints – two said the dog was “too big,” and then the one note from someone afraid of dogs. Now, for all we know they came from the same person, but it could be as many as three people complaining about the dog.

                1. Hills to Die on*

                  Good point – I missed that originally. I wonder if it’s the same person though. Dog is too big is an odd thing to say. Big dog related things like Dog tail knocks my stuff over, dogs rear end sticks out of OP’s cube, dog sounds like a horse walking down the hall—something more specific would make it seems like a real complaint but maybe I’m just biased because I have a 90-pound dog myself.

                2. bonkerballs*

                  @Hill to Die, it’s possible the note did include those things but either OP or the manger who spoke to OP is summing that up as “dog is too big.” We are hearing about the note…what is it, fourth hand? So it’s hard to know exactly what the issue is.

          2. The Original Flavored K*

            Or maybe they shouldn’t work in an office that is openly dog-friendly. If dogs are welcome as a perk that applies to everyone, then it’s unfair to say that one specific person needs to take on an extra cost. If “dogs are welcome in this office, except for YOUR dog because it’s too big even though I cleared this months ago,” then it’s reasonable to say, “okay, cool, can I get an increase or some assistance with daycare/dog-walking bills?”

            For that matter, way to read my comment in bad faith — I didn’t say that the LW should approach this as “WHY SHOULD I PAY MONEY?!?!” All I did was point out that dog daycare is expensive and using it priced me out of an area, forcing me to quit a great job. (Even better, I’m currently on hold with my vet to euthanize said dog. I might be a little touchy.)

            1. chocolate lover*

              It’s not at all unusual for even dog-friendly or other pet-friendly businesses to have restrictions on the size of the animals, or the behavior. Just like some housing complexes and communities limit the size of pets people can have. If the OPs larger dog is an exception, not the rule, the coworker may not have anticipated it. And I wonder if the manager checked in with any people on how they’d feel about providing that option for OPs larger dog? Maybe they didn’t anticipate that size would affect someone’s fear and anxiety.

              1. Pet sitter*

                FWIW, a standard poodle weighs 45-70 pounds. They’re smaller than golden retrievers and labrador retrievers (just picked those because most people are familiar with those breeds).

            2. LBK*

              Honestly, even with your follow up here I’m still of the opinion that this is the responsibility you take on when you get a pet and it’s no one’s problem but your own. Sometimes having a pet is going to create inconveniences in your life – I got evicted from an apartment because the realtor failed to mention that pets weren’t allowed and I didn’t find out until after I’d moved in and one of my neighbors told my landlord that I had a cat. That absolutely sucked, but it’s part of the deal I accepted when I adopted her. I’m the one who accepted that having a pet would factor in to my living situation or, in this case, the OP’s work situation.

              (That all being said, I am very, very sorry to hear about your dog.)

              1. JessaB*

                Yes but if you’d asked specifically of the rental agent personally and they said “cats okay, indoor only.” And you moved in and rented and two months later they said “sorry we changed our mind no cats,” and you have to spend again, and move and spend more in rent etc. That’s not reasonable to you. In your case you did your best to ask. Personally, I’d make a case against the realtor for the second moving costs and any additional deposit because they’re costing you money and you might actually win that one in small claims. You moved based on a specific claim. That’s vital. And since pet ownership vs apartment rules is a big deal it’s on the realtor to know this stuff FOR SURE.

                And I think you were badly done however it comes out. But when you decided to move, you were legit told the cat was okay, if they’d said no cats, you would have moved somewhere else. Same with taking a job.

                1. LBK*

                  I did go after the realtor and we ultimately came to an informal settlement (didn’t get to the point of going to court because they came up with an offer I found acceptable). My point is that it was on me as a cat owner to know that in choosing to adopt a pet, I was set myself up to potentially have to navigate difficult situations like that because the cat takes priority – in theory, I could have just gotten rid of the cat and all would’ve been well, but I obviously in reality I couldn’t do that.

                  When I adopted my cat, I was prepared for the consequences, knowing that pet policies for housing are a big deal and that having a cat could affect my living situation. Obviously it sucked being bait-and-switched and I did think the realtor owed me something for putting me in that situation, but ultimately it was my responsibility to come up with a solution to the problem that would allow me to fulfill my duty as a pet owner, ie find another place to live that did allow cats. I don’t see this as any different than having to pay for surgery when your pet is sick – sometimes things happen that are out of your control and you have to be prepared to do what’s necessary to get through them.

            3. I'd Rather not Say*

              All this negativity towards dogs is making me sad. I consider myself a reasonable and responsible owner, and am just as annoyed by the irresponsible ones who give the rest of us a bad name. Mine are always leashed in public (no flexi/extended leashes for us), we step well off to the side when walking to let others pass, and I only let them meet people if the people ask. They’re gated to another room or outside if there are workers, or people are visiting who don’t like dogs. For the record, they’re around 45 pounds each and I do send the younger one to day camp.

              I don’t get to bring them to work but if this was allowed, I’d keep them confined to my office, bring them in and out the side door, and generally no one would even know they’re there. If they were disruptive, I wouldn’t bring them.

              What would happen if a person with an eating disorder had problems with the free food? Would it be ok to take that perk away because of an anonymous complaint?

              What jumps out at me is the lack of trying to meet in the middle. In the circumstances of this letter, I’d probably be looking for a new job because I’d be resentful of the anonymous complainer (and management) who didn’t respect my professionalism and maturity enough to try to come up with a solution that wasn’t so one sided.

            4. Julia the Survivor*

              I’m so sorry Flavored K! My favorite cat died of old age last April. I know how it is.

          3. Plague of frogs*

            Well, but the office was advertised as dog-friendly. I hope that the complainer was notified of this before they started their job (although I know from past letters that it’s possible they weren’t notified at all, which would be terrible). They chose the job anyway, and now are complaining.

            OP should be upset–this change is taking a perk away from her. It would be like taking away her unlimited vacation. And it’s worse, because it sounds like the change is only being applied to her, which is extremely unfair.

              1. JessaB*

                Yeh, I really hate companies where they refuse or neglect to disclose things that are material to whether or not someone would self select out. This is true of pet policies, travel requirements, etc. How many letters does Alison get about “but they said minimal travel and I’m out two days a week, that’s not minimum.”

                1. KellyK*

                  YES. Being up front about what the job requires and what it’s like to work there is really, really basic. If things have to change, they have to change, but at least be honest from the start.

        4. Thursday Next*

          The real substance of the comment by Don’t is about a discomfort around dogs, including fear related to two near attacks in childhood. The suggestions about coping with dog care were secondary to this main point.

          TOFK, the fact that you jumped all over the suggestions for dog walkers or dog day care while ignoring the objections to dogs in the workplace might give us all some insight into why the complaint was made anonymously in the OP’s workplace.

          1. Pet Friend*

            I totally agree! The anonymous system is making sense. I feel like if I was in the OP’s coworker’s shoes I would utilize the anonymous complaint over potentially tanking a professional work relationship with the dog’s owner. They could be totally understanding but I feel like on the other end of the spectrum this could easily start an almost blood feud between the pro OP’s dog camp and the ones who asked for help dealing with medical conditions. The manager has handled it and now OP has to figure out what to do next.

            1. Luna*

              What medical conditions? There was nothing in the letter about allergies, and simply not liking or being afraid of something is not a medical condition. If the complainer had a serious phobia they likely would have complained right away and not waited several months. The complainer is being selfish and childish, by complaining anonymously they are ensuring there is no room for compromise, and now OP’s work life is worse (not just because she can’t bring her dog, but now she also has to constantly wonder which coworker is complaining about her behind her back).

              1. Pollygrammer*

                It also only takes a moment of irritation to file an anonymous complaint. And if it’s anonymous, it has to be a flat “dog shouldn’t be here at all” when if there’s a solution-oriented discussion it could turn into “could I be on a different floor from dog?”

              2. Zombeyonce*

                It’s also possible that the anonymous complainer was being adult and tried dealing with their phobia before making the complaint but found it was just too difficult and making their life too hard. We’re all just speculating here.

        5. biobottt*

          Well, what would the OP do if their work didn’t allow dogs? It’s a rare enough situation that even if they left this job, it might be very hard, if not impossible, to find another job that lets them bring their dog in. They have to have some kind of alternative solution.

          Did you really get a pet without thinking through how they would be cared for?

          1. Snark*

            “Well, what would the OP do if their work didn’t allow dogs?”

            As she specifically stated, she probably wouldn’t have taken this particular job, with its 45 minute commute.

            1. LBK*

              I get that, but she also could get laid off tomorrow, or the company could just cancel the policy outright unrelated to her situation, or any number of things could happen. It sucks to lose this perk, for sure, but I think it was partly her responsibility to have a contingency plan as a pet owner.

              1. Snark*

                I’m sure she does have a contingency plan. That doesn’t mean she’s obligated to like having to fall back on it.

                1. Hills to Die on*

                  Or that she should have to go to plan B at all. There are so many middle ground solutions that have been discussed here—I’m annoyed at the boss for not even trying to come up with one of them.

                2. KellyK*

                  Exactly. It’s totally reasonable to be upset by a bait and switch, even if it wasn’t a deliberate bait and switch.

                  People should have contingency things for all kinds of things. But if the job you were offered isn’t the job you end up working, you’re going to be a bit ticked off.

        6. LBK*

          The OP took on a serious new financial obligation when she adopted the dog. Dog-friendly offices are rare and, as we’ve seen in letters here, can come and go pretty easily; you shouldn’t rely on working at one when you decide to get a dog if you can’t afford and/or aren’t willing to change your plan for what to do with the dog while you’re at work if needed.

          1. Snark*

            But if she took this particular job and accepted the tradeoff of the long commute specifically because of the dog-friendly policy, and would have found a different job with less of a commute if that wasn’t in the cards, I still sympathize with feeling bait-and-switched even while acknowledging that your point is broadly true.

            1. LBK*

              I get that the bait-and-switch sucks, and it’s certainly worth exploring how the company is willing to meet her halfway on this with that in mind. I was specifically disagreeing with the idea that telling the OP she might have to suck it up and pay for a dog walker or doggy daycare is “blithely suggest[ing] that a total stranger take on a serious new financial obligation” – adopting a dog without making sure you can afford to pay for those expenses in the first place if needed would be “blithely taking on a serious new financial obligation.”

              I think my point is just that the OP shouldn’t have been relying on this perk as her permanent dog care plan (and to be clear, I don’t get the sense from the letter that she is, more just that she’s bummed out she might have to go that route). It’s not outrageous to suggest that she might have to take on an expense that she implicitly agreed to when she decided to take on the responsibility of caring for a living being.

              1. TootsNYC*

                I don’t think she was relying on this perk as a permanent plan.

                And she’s entitled to be bummed.

                But I think people who are objecting to the “just get a dogwalker/daycare” are objecting to the dismissive TONE of the advice.

                1. LBK*

                  And I’m objecting to the tone of the person who acted as though it was an insane idea to expect a dog owner to pay to have that dog taken care of. That’s it, I was only responding specifically to The Original Flavored K’s comment.

        7. Unsympathetic ToPetParents*

          And yet mothers who struggle with daycare are told to just suck it up because this was a life choice that they made. And somehow, ‘pet parents’ should get empathy for how darn expensive doggy day care is. That is probably true, but no one forced the OP to get a dog in the first place. Dogs are not a necessity of life, and as such, there will be extraneous financial obligations that come with ownership.

          1. TootsNYC*

            I worked at a place with an onsite daycare.

            That was a HUGE factor in my choice to take a job there.

            If they had announced one day that they were closing the daycare (at one point, during a sale of the company, that was an option), I would have been looking immediately.

            Actually, I DID take a job and get out of there because I was afraid it was going to happen. And if I’d still been working there when they closed it precipitously, I’d have been mad.

            1. Julia the Survivor*

              A good company would not precipitously close daycare. They would announce that it’s closing in, say, 6 months, to give people time to make arrangements.
              In a perfect world there would always be daycare…

          2. Goya de la Mancha*

            “Dogs are not a necessity of life, and as such, there will be extraneous financial obligations that come with ownership.” – one might also replace Dogs, with Kids….

            I think the empathy is being extended because the perk was available at decision time and not it’s not. Most parents dealing with childcare issues don’t have child care perks at work in the first place to be taken away from them.

          3. Lissa*

            You really think that if this were a place with free on-site childcare that was suddenly taken away because someone didn’t like kids, people wouldn’t be sympathetic to the LW? I think the comments would skew even more pro-LW if that were the case.

        1. JessaB*

          Not if you took a job specifically to not have to pay that and possibly took a pay hit, or an added expense in travel to get that perk. You may have had to pay that in the past when you were making x but if you are making x-whatever now, that’s not necessarily reasonable.

    2. WeevilWobble*

      The note didn’t suggest the dog was disruptive. Nor are poodles generally.

      And grown ups should act like grown ups and own their complaints. Yes, sometimes being an adult means difficult conversations. I have zero respect for doing this anonymously. I think it should be ignored unless they come forward.

      1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

        I don’t think the anonymity of the complaint matters in this situation. The OP’s boss is taking it seriously; that makes it something the OP needs to take seriously.

        1. Alli525*

          I think anonymity does matter, actually; they didn’t have to raise their concerns directly with OP, but with a supervisor instead, who could manage an anonymous negotiation about alternatives.

          1. Jules the 3rd*

            If you read the linked article and update, you might understand why so many of us are supportive of the anonymous note. Sure, face to face is better, but sometimes the risks of face to face are too high.

          2. bonkerballs*

            I think it doesn’t matter because according to OP, anonymous communication is a company sanctioned thing. The complaint came through the comany’s own official anonymous box. You can’t really fault someone for using the systems the company itself has set up.

        2. Julia the Survivor*

          To me it seems weird to have an anonymous complaint box. I’m not sure I would be comfortable with that.
          I’ve seen complaints handled by the person going to the manager, and the manager working it out…
          An anonymous complaint box seems to bring back the middle-school dynamic of “so-and-so said this about you”… and I would be very uncomfortable with that!

      2. 5 Leaf Clover*

        To understand why someone might do this anonymously, definitely read the “person who ruined dogs in the office” update linked to in Allison’s original post!

        1. Tuxedo Cat*

          One of my friends wanted to bring her dog to our small open office. Our boss, who is well-intentioned but clueless, okayed it. I told my friend she should probably ask because some people have allergies or are afraid; our boss had okayed things in the past that later turned out to be problematic.

          Some other woman butted in and look like I was devil for suggesting that a dog in the office might not be a great thing.

        2. BeautifulVoid*

          Heck, some of the comments in this thread alone make a very strong case for this person complaining anonymously, whether it was the posters’ intent or not. :-\

      3. Pet Friend*

        If you look again it says there were multiple complaints – not just one. Enough that the manager came to talk to her about this. I don’t think she should ignore this as it has already been brought up by her manager. I am siding with an anonymous system since many of these comments make me feel like the people who don’t want the dog there would be alienated or suffer because they decided to speak up. They followed the course of reporting they had and the manager raised it to her. If she pushes back and says she will not comply unless these specific people who complained come forward….I think management will be rethinking how good of a fit OP is for this office.
        There are many good perks she can enjoy but she is just focused on this one. I’m sorry but if someone is allergic or afraid then I think OP should look to dog sitting or a dog walker – this is what many many people already have to do.
        And poodles can be disruptive – all dogs can. Poor training or overstimulation or new environments etc….can all lend to it. I know this wasn’t a reason from reading the letter but I want to correct that generalization. No one should assume anything about a dog that isn’t theirs.

        1. Pet Friend*

          I don’t know if OP is a she and did use that pronoun – I can’t edit but I would change the “hers” and “shes” to neutral ones. My apologies OP.

          1. Rick*

            Ask a Manager editing guidelines are to refer to people using female pronouns if the gender is unknown.

        2. Lil Fidget*

          This is one other drawback of anonymous complaints. Without any other evidence to the contrary, I’d hold it at least 50/50 that the same person complained multiple times, versus many people complained. You can’t know.

          That’s why if many people really are unhappy with the situation, it’s must better to appear in a group and make your case openly.

      4. Turquoisecow*

        Breed specific behavior statements are useless. If a poodle is treated badly, it can absolutely be as vicious as any other dog. And if a pit bull is treated kindly, it can be as gentle as any other dog.

        Anonymous complaints are useful for many reasons, and should be addressed like any other complaint.

        1. TGIF*

          THIS. My aunt and uncle owned a poodle who was very jumpy. He wasn’t a biter, wasn’t trying to hurt you, but he jumped in excitement. I didn’t mind it since I love dogs but I know a ton of people who would hate it.

          Blame the deed, not the breed. And it works the opposite way too. Just because a breed is known for something does not mean every single dog is that way.

          1. Kittyfish 76*

            Someone in my neighborhood has 2 standard poodles, which are, surprisingly, NOT friendly dogs.

            1. Elizabeth West*

              And someone in mine has a pittie that was very excited to come across the street just to lick me and get pets.
              (I said “Hi puppy!” and was completely amenable to this; he had her under control. She was a very good girl.)

            2. KellyK*

              Someone in my neighborhood had a downright vicious golden retriever. He ran out into the road to bark and growl at us several times. When I got a pit bull, I stopped walking my dogs on that road at all, because I knew darn well that if there was a fight, no one would ever believe that the golden started it.

      5. Liz T*

        The office literally has a box for anonymous complaints. Currently that’s acceptable in this office.

      6. Observer*

        There is a reason for anonymous complaint boxes. And, while the OP clearly doesn’t mean it this way, their reaction helps explain why people use them. The OP want to try to come up with an “alternative solution” when it seems fairly obvious that there is not likely to be one, but as frustrating as that would be anyone who complained, that would be understandable. But, the OP is also failing to realize that the dog apparently is presenting a larger problem that they think – there have been several complaints, which indicates that more than one person is not happy about the matter. That should be a wake up moment, where the OP thinks about what’s really happening here. *AND* the OP essentially wants to pressure the coworker who is afraid of the dog into accepting its presence. I’m sure the OP doesn’t mean it that way, “I’ll make it a point to keep the dog away from Chris” as a solution is in this case almost certainly NOT a solution. But it will make Chris look bad and will open them to pressure and arguments that they should not need to deal with.

        1. Lil Fidget*

          As stated, if the complaints are truly anonymous we can’t know how many people complained, and it could be just one person complaining multiple times.

          1. Penny Lane*

            We are supposed to take LWs at their word, and that includes their description of the situation. It’s reasonable to assume the manager is correctly stating that there have been several different anonymous complaints. Presumably the manager knows how to tell whether notes have been written by different people.

      7. Starbuck*

        There are people who consider their dogs equivalent to children. Regardless I’d assume a big emotional investment. No way would I attach my name to a complaint like that.

      8. Julia the Survivor*

        Having the anonymous complaint box in the first place encourages anonymity.
        That seems weird to me. I’ve never worked in a place that had that, and I think it would make me a little uncomfortable. Sort of middle-school “Jane said this about you” dynamic.

    3. Naptime Enthusiast*

      I love my dog to death and I would love to bring him to work with me, but even if that were my culture, I recognize that he is just not well behaved enough for a workplace. He enjoys attention too much and would welcome every single person walking by, which is just not OK. Friendly and gentle =/= well-behaved.

      Agreed about the anonymous note, don’t discount it just because someone did not want to attach their name to it. It doesn’t make it any less valid, especially because it was submitted to what sounds like a recognized “complaint box”. It is frustrating because you can’t discuss the issue with the person face-to-face and figure out if there’s a solution that works for both of you, but that doesn’t mean that you should ignore the request.

      1. Sugarbaker*

        As frustrating as the inability to discuss the issue, I could easily see myself being the anonymous requester of ‘no dogs please’ – I’ve been attacked by large dogs ( scarred), have at a former position witnessed the office dog (which was a large poodle) snap unexpectedly at a coworker. I wouldn’t want to be identified as the person who ruined dogs for everyone, and most importantly, I wouldn’t want to have a discussion as to how to manage my fears so we could have dogs. That’s the thing with feelings – I would rather quit than have a discussion with my coworkers in which my fears must be addressed because they are seen as a problem.

    4. Oxford Coma*

      Agreed. There often seems to be a reverse correlation between the effusiveness of the owner’s praise and the dog’s good behavior. The people with immaculately trained dogs (such as retired K9s and the life) tend to be more modest in describing the dog, because they understand that behavior is a spectrum affected by a variety of factors.

      1. Eye of Sauron*

        I would expect the LW to add in background to the letter to try and describe the situation. I didn’t get the feeling that they are one of the people who are saying “Good Fluffy” as Fluffy is peeing on your left shoe while chewing on the right one.

        ~signed a person who knows that her dog can be a brat and while generally has good manners has been known to lose all sense and act like a defiant 2 year old human.

      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

        Except here, OP has other people corroborating their observations. OP may well have a gorgeously behaved dog, and it still may not be enough for someone who is afraid of or allergic to dogs.

        1. fposte*

          Yes, I think this is just an unfortunate juxtaposition, not anybody, human or canine, being badly behaved.

        2. Engineer Girl*

          It could be other dog owners corroborating the position. That could mean that they are judging it through a biased lens. Maybe the dog is good in relation to other dogs, but “friendly” means the dog stands up and seeks attention from anyone that walks by.
          There just isn’t enough information to make a true value judgement on the dogs behavior.
          Many are not going to say something if they are intimidated.

          1. fposte*

            Though alternatively I’m now wondering if another dog owner could have a problem with the OP’s dog. Many possibilities here.

        3. TL -*

          I’ll often smile and say polite things about someone’s dog if they’re fishing, or I’ll tell a dog they’re a good puppy, when in reality I’m thinking the dog is an ill-trained, ill-behaved brat who shouldn’t be in public.

          There are times when I will genuinely compliment a dog’s behavior but I’ve found a lot of people tend to take polite agreements as strong corroboration rather the lukewarm avoidance of unnecessary rudeness.

      3. NonprofitWhiz*

        Except we should take LW at their word and not project our own assumptions about dog behavior here.

    5. KR*

      I think too that non dog people and dog lovers have different ideas of what well behaved is. When my dog jumps up and gives me kisses and borks a few times at me I think it’s adorable and I love it. I can easily see how a non dog person would not like that kind of behavior. That being said, my old man is very polite, smart, and docile and he knows that type of behavior is okay to do in some situations but sometimes mom will tell him to stop doing it in certain situations (and he does), but not all dogs know the difference.

      1. Yorick*

        Right, but you have to tell him to stop. That means he’s already jumping on someone who didn’t want him to.

        1. KR*

          Nope, he doesn’t actually. He is too old to actually jump on a person, he just sort of jumps in place. I pay attention to his mood though and if I notice he’s pumped up I will keep him on a short leash or tell him to chill out before he potentially makes someone uncomfortable.

        2. Lorange*

          Just gonna emphasize Yorick’s brilliant comment: That means he’s ALREADY JUMPING on someone who DIDN’T WANT HIM TO.

          I’m not a dog person, and it would never occur to me to consider a dog who jumps up on me as “well-behaved.”

          1. KR*

            He doesn’t actually, but don’t worry he won’t take it personally.

            I think the word jump is misleading. He’s nearly 12 years old. So jumping is kind of hopping in place for him.

            Anyway I know his moods pretty well so when I see him getting excited he goes on a short leash, is told to chill out.

            1. fposte*

              I also think for people who aren’t comfortable with dogs jumping is pretty alarming in its own right. It’s a “What is this overexcited animal going to do?” alert.

              It’s kind of like the conversation we had a few weeks ago about cats. Animal behaviors makes sense and follow a logical structure if you know them, but that’s not a language all humans know.

          2. Mr. Rogers*

            So is that a failure of the dog or a failure of your knowledge about dogs? I honestly don’t think someone who doesn’t have dogs, doesn’t like dogs, and has most importantly never trained a dog gets to have much of an opinion on what “well-trained” means. (Which isn’t just you, it’s 90% of the very judgey people I’ve seen leaving comments to this effect.) Just say you don’t want to be around them and be done with it. Don’t try and make it seem like the owner is delusional because you don’t like or understand normal dog behavior outside of incredibly professional service animals. A dog is not a person, it doesn’t speak a English, it can’t be expected to follow rules of consent in the same way for physical contact.

            1. Penny Lane*

              “So is that a failure of the dog or a failure of your knowledge about dogs? I honestly don’t think someone who doesn’t have dogs, doesn’t like dogs, and has most importantly never trained a dog gets to have much of an opinion on what “well-trained” means.”

              Really? So people who don’t like dogs jumping on them aren’t entitled to say “that’s not a well-trained dog, if it’s jumping on me”? They simply have to stand back and take it?

              Why do you think everyone has to have knowledge about dogs? It’s as silly as saying that everyone has to have knowledge about knitting, or curling, or Game of Thrones, or baroque French music. Dogs may be your interest and hobby and that’s great, but why does Care and Training of Dogs in General have to be a knowledge area for other people?

            2. fposte*

              It’s a failure of the terminology that’s been applied. I’m a dog person. A dog who jumps up on people isn’t well-behaved. He’s not evil or mean, but that’s a significant behavioral error. “Well-behaved” is about the pup’s interaction with humans and occasionally other critters; a behavior can be natural and still not be well-behaved. An owner can be expected to understand that and to either train the dog accordingly, or restrain him appropriately and present the dog fairly, as thousands to millions of dog owners manage.

            3. Engineer Girl*

              I do not have a dog. My standard for a “well behaved dog” is a K9 or service animal. These dogs are specifically trained to be out in public.
              Am I wrong to have this as my standard? After all, many dogs can meet it. I have also seen non service dogs meet that standard.
              To call this “judgey” is a logical fallacy. You’re basically lobbing insults as a defense.
              You don’t get to define dog standards for a public area. The public gets to do that.

              1. A grad student*

                Yes, you are wrong to have this as your standard. It takes months/years of full-time training to get a dog to that standard, and most people just don’t have that time- and there are a lot of dogs who go through those programs and fail out specifically because they can’t meet that standard of behavior in public. I do my best with my dog, and expect other dog owners to be actively monitoring their dogs’ behavior, and correcting when they misbehave. I think the majority of dog owners do this, but not all. For many people, their dogs need to be in public some of the time- I live in an apartment, and therefore need to take my dog into a public area to use the bathroom, get exercise, etc. I think she is reasonably well-behaved, and frequently get comments to that effect, but she’s nowhere near a service animal. It’s unreasonable for you to expect me not to take her into public places because she might get overexcited and jump when someone has a treat for her.

                1. Penny Lane*

                  I’ve had dogs and I’ve trained my dogs (though certainly not to the level of service/therapy dogs). They were *not* allowed to jump on visitors to our house because well, that’s not a well-trained dog. I fully get that if they had, it would have been out of excitement and not meanness, but the whole point is that dog owners have to actively monitor their dogs’ behaviors precisely because — well, they’re dogs, and hence not humans in terms of understanding what is appropriate behavior. It doesn’t make them bad dogs, it just makes them — dogs.

                2. Engineer Girl*

                  Taking your dog out to pee is a whole level of different than having them in an office space. I take it your dog is on a leash when they are outside. That means you’re supposed to keep them under control. And that means no jumping.
                  If you are bringing your dog into a work area then they need to be trained. “I’m trying” isn’t good enough.
                  It’s like letting the kids eat at McDonald’s until they know how to behave properly in a nicer restaurant. Some kids never graduate. And it is unfair to impact the experience of others just because you can’t meet the standard.

          3. Penny Lane*

            This is a PERFECT example of the disconnect! Some people consider their dogs well-behaved if they respond to “hey, down, girl” without recognizing that the person being jumped on is very uncomfortable with that behavior.

            1. Pollygrammer*

              It’s very annoying to hear a dog owner praise their good! boy! for getting down off you when it’s told, after it’s gotten mud on your pants and freaked you out sufficiently.

              1. KR*

                While grating, please understabd the reasoning. If we don’t praise them when they do something we tell them to do, we risk them not following our commands the next time.

          4. A grad student*

            That’s not necessarily true… When I’m at the dog park, some of the dogs there jump on people. A lot of those dogs do so gingerly, and in a vacuum I might not care- but I amd the owner always tell the dog to stop, and generally they do. If a dog is allowed to jump on people, they’ll think it’s always okay and then might jump on someone who really can’t be jumped on. There are a lot of otherwise well-meaning dog owners who let their dogs jump on them because they love their dogs and have a terrible time figuring out why they can’t stop their dog from jumping on Grandma.

            My dog is a year old, so well young enough to jump all over creation. She kind of meerkats on to people sometimes- no actual weight, but is up on her hind legs with her front legs touching the person. A lot of people don’t mind, because she’s only 20 pounds and they can barely tell she’s on them, but we still tell her to stop because, again, dogs can’t distinguish well between when a behavior is and isn’t okay.

        3. krysb*

          Yes. I have three dogs, two Great Danes and a Great Pyrenees mix. They all weigh over 100 pounds. It is unacceptable for my dogs to jump on me (who loves them), so it’s way more unacceptable for them to jump on another person.

      2. kb*

        I think this is a really great point. I’m not afraid of dogs, but I am sort of dog-wary based on some bad experiences. I can and have gotten used to being around dogs doing dog things, but I still get uncomfortable when dogs are up in my business, even if I can tell it’s friendly. It can be kind of awkward to tell someone their dog is making you uncomfortable when they’re not being “bad dogs.” It makes you feel like a killjoy.

      3. Hrovitnir*

        I am sure your dog is lovely, but I take exception to “non dog people and dog lovers have different ideas of what well behaved is”. Dogs that are allowed to jump on (some) people and jump up and down in place when they meet people do not meet my threshold for well behaved. And I love dogs; I had three bully breeds, now am sadly down to one.

        I genuinely would love to meet your dog and totally am down for licks and other behaviour not appreciated by non-dog lovers. That doesn’t mean that my standard for appropriate behaviour in public drops to include whatever I’m OK with.

    6. legalchef*

      Yes, all this!

      Plus, there is “well behaved” and then there is “well behaved for that breed.” Some breeds of dogs are naturally more jumpy and barky than others, so even a well behaved dog of that breed might be too intense for some people.

      1. NonprofitWhiz*

        However, OP has an exceptionally trainable and well-behaved breed. We should take them at their word that their dog behaves appropriately in the office.

    7. AllyDar*

      I agree with Stefanielaine, and I’m a dog owner and I wish I could bring my dog to work. I’ve found (in public and in the workplace) that what one person thinks is well behaved can be anything but – this goes for dogs and children. The issue is that this policy no longer works and is a disruption, unfortunately.

    8. Det. Charles Boyle*

      I’m not allergic or terrified of dogs, but I have also found this to be true. Most pet owners (like most parents!) think their beloveds are much more lovable than the rest of us do. I have a friend who likes to say, “But my dog isn’t doing it maliciously!” But really, the dog’s intent doesn’t matter. I don’t like being jumped on or bitten or having my food licked or any of a number of things — whether it’s friendly or malicious doesn’t matter one bit to me. The outcome is the same.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        “But my dog isn’t doing it maliciously!”

        I remember the dog owner insisting that their dog only lunged and snapped at people showing fear, so their coworkers needed to quit showing fear already.

        Our puppy didn’t eat my husbands insoles maliciously, either. I mean, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t malicious. Doesn’t make it okay.

    9. Snark*

      Your first point is good. A lot of dog owners just don’t register it, but as an owner of a fairly hyper, jumpy, slurpy little hyperbeast, I’m very aware that she’s not everybody’s cup of tea and I try to be sensitive to that by not introducing her to situations and people where that’d be a problem. Ultimately, I think dogs at work are problematic and this should not be a perk that’s offered.

      That said, given that some companies make the decision to allow people do this, I disagree that the anonymous complainer is entitled to anonymity. It’s possible there’s an accomodation or reasonable compromise that could be reached if the person were willing to have a discussion about that. But you can’t discuss ways forward with an anonymous complaint, and with the effect of forcing everyone’s hand in a way that feels one-sided to me. The potential for social fallout is real, but I think the complainant has to own it if they’re going to make this a thing. And, justified or not, they ARE the reason OP can’t bring her dog anymore, and OP will most likely have to spend money on a dog walker or sitter or otherwise sacrifice on their behalf – it’s a big ask to demand someone give up a perk that influenced their decision to take a job, and an ask that big really shouldn’t be anonymous even if it might be uncomfortable.

      1. Aurion*

        I feel like your second paragraph is a little unfair though. It’s more fraught at work than for regular social situations because people depend on their paycheques. One can elect to avoid a particular outing or friend group if they have a fallout with someone, but most people need their jobs and have to show up every day even if they become a pariah for being “the dog hater”. It’s not like the complainant has any idea what was OP’s ultimate motivation in taking this job; for all they know OP took the job for the unlimited vacation policy.

        1. Snark*

          You’re not wrong. In a sane and reasonable office, a person would not be a pariah for requesting that, but, sure, it does happen. I think the likelihood of that is decreased by being reasonable, open, and flexible about the complaint. The thing is, though, the anonymous complaint leaves no opening to explore a mutually agreeable solution – the employer basically has no choice but to leave OP holding the short end of the stick, and that strikes me as not equitable. If you’re bringing allergies or fears to a workplace where dogs have historically been allowed, I think you’ve tacitly agreed to at least try to compromise with those who do.

          Obviously none of that applies to workplaces where dogs haven’t been part of the terrain until one person negotiated a new perk, but that’s not the case here.

          1. Aurion*

            Sane and reasonable is really the bar we strive for, but that’s not something we can know across the internet unfortunately.

            I feel like ultimately it comes down to whether management is banning all dogs or this dog (and my interpretation is this dog). If the office has historically been dog-friendly but banning hasn’t been an issue until now, then something about OP’s dog is setting off the multiple complainants (only one of which is “I’m afraid of dogs”; the others are specific to the dog)–whether that’s because the dog is bigger than average, because it’s less behaved than the OP believes, or any of a multitude of reasons.

            If it wasn’t specific to this dog but a more general ban, then not only would it affect a larger number of workers (all the people who brought their dogs), but also you can call into question “but you knew coming in that this is a dog friendly workplace, whut?” But if OP’s dog is the only one affected, then I’m more inclined to believe the OP’s dog is unfortunately the outlier in expected behaviour.

            1. Snark*

              Except there’s also a third possibility, where the complainant is specifically taking issue with this dog’s size, which is particular to this dog but not behavioral. I’m disinclined to entertain the allergy complaints because it’s a poodle.

              1. Coughing over here*

                It’s entirely possible to be allergic to poodles, so discounting seems unreasonable to me.

                1. Snark*

                  It’s possible but significantly less likely than with other dog breeds – and presumably, the complaining coworker is exposed to non-poodles also present in the office, which is probably where the allergies are coming from. Occam’s shaving implement.

              2. Brittasaurus Rex*

                That’s not fair, though. There are people who suffer allergic reactions even to poodles.

              3. Aurion*

                I swear I’m not picking on you in particular or following you around, I just don’t have time to go through the entire comment thread today.

                If the issue is simply a poodle is larger than average, what is the actual problem underlying that complaint? I ask in complete seriousness because I have no idea. I assumed the issue was a behavioural one because I can’t picture what problems a large dog would pose in an office that a smaller one would not, assuming all else was equal and behaviour of both were up to standard. Is it blocking the hallway and thus not obeying fire code? Is it people get twitchy about larger dogs and don’t about smaller ones?

                I’ve never been to a dog friendly office (I first heard of the concept on AAM), so I assumed a de-factor requirement is that the dog, whatever size it is, must be squirrelled away and out of sight/out of the way, so if the OP has been bringing her poodle around I thought she would’ve been tucking her dog under her desk or somewhere that isn’t affecting others.

                1. Snark*

                  Someone might be more nervous around big dogs than smaller ones, speculatively – perhaps feeling squeezed in a hallway, or something?

                2. TootsNYC*

                  big dogs take up more space (offices can be crowded)
                  and some people are more afraid of big dogs (their teeth are closer to your face, and they are harder to fight back against)

                3. Natalie*

                  @ Snark, I think it’s just the larger size comes across as more threatening overall. As a kid I had a bad interaction with a friend’s dogs – they jumped on me and knocked me over, and while they were playful they stayed in the vicinity of my face for a bit which freaked me out. For years after that I was afraid of dogs but only ones that were big enough to reach my head unassisted.

                  On the flip side, I’ve certainly known a lot of people with small dogs that seem to think the dog’s small size means they’re off the hook on training it. And I have a friend with a huge dog (125 pounds) that has that thing trained to an inch of its life because its size alone scares people, even other dog people.

                4. Hrovitnir*

                  People absolutely get twitchy about large dogs over smaller ones, which is logical enough. I just happen to agree that in a dog-friendly office it sucks that could override your ability to have your dog their if their behaviour is (genuinely) good and they are out of the way.

                  My partner had his dog in his office for a while, in a crate; he was so quiet people would often be shocked if they saw him because they hadn’t realised he was there (sometimes for multiple visits). He was disinterested in strangers to the point where it was mildly awkward, so no jumping or sniffing when been taken out for walks. Still, someone complained anonymously, so that was the end of that. I’m sure he did look scary to a lot of people (American Bulldog), but he was literally sleeping in a cage not paying any attention to anyone.

                5. Pet sitter*

                  Standard poodles aren’t huge. I feel like people in this thread are imagining a curly-haired Bernese Mountain Dog.

                  I don’t know what drove the person’s complaint, but I could imagine that someone with a phobia might be less uncomfortable with small dogs – 20-30 pounds or under – and more frightened with, well, dog-sized dogs.

              4. Perse's Mom*

                I don’t even know where the ‘allergy complaints’ are coming from all over these comments; the letter made no mention of allergies, just size and fear.

      2. KellyK*

        I think it’s reasonable that the asker be anonymous *from the OP,* but that doesn’t mean a completely anonymous complaint was the best way to handle it. It would’ve been better if they’d talked to their boss and tried to work something out, whether that involves them moving, the OP moving, or something else. A reasonable manager wouldn’t tell the OP who complained. *But* I don’t think we can completely fault the complainer, since there was an anonymous complaint box, so that’s kind of how things are done at that office.

        And since even the OP doesn’t know who they are, we don’t have any way to know that their manager is reasonable. If their boss is a “my dogs are my kids” type, they might have good reason to be anonymous from the boss too.

        TLDR, I agree with you that that wasn’t the ideal way to handle it; we just don’t have enough info about the overall office dynamics to know how feasible our ideal way would be.

    10. Thursday Next*

      I think stefanielaine makes a really good point about the potential difference between dog owners’ perception of their dogs’ behavior and a non-owner’s perspective. I love dogs, especially big dogs, especially big, gamboling, slobberdogs, but watching how my mom and daughter react when they encounter such dogs has made me realize that the same behavior that makes me go “awww” can be genuinely frightening to some people.

      Please don’t push to identify the complainant. It was probably uncomfortable for that person to make the complaint, and I don’t think it’s an issue that can be mediated successfully. People who are afraid of or uncomfortable around dogs should have those concerns taken seriously. It can be a very visceral, irrational feeling for them.

      1. Michael Carmichael*

        Yes! to not pushing to find out who complained and to taking their fears seriously. I can totally see any conversation with the complainant(s) ending up being a session basically asking for them to change (ignore/seek therapy/other potential unrealistic scenario) so that the dog can stay. I would not want to feel bullied into accepting something like this, especially since let’s face it, even if the complainants agree to some ‘terms,’ the co-working relationship is damaged. I agree also with everyone who has mentioned that allowing animals in the workplace is just such a fraught endeavor, it really shouldn’t be a thing in the first place so no one ever has to ‘lose’ it and endure this disappointment. I feel terrible for the OP but also for the fearful person/people.

        1. Snark*

          It’s not unreasonable to expect a complainant to explore potential compromises, and compromising does not necessarily mean that a relationship would be damaged.

          If this were something totally unrelated to dogs, would someone be “bullied” into finding a reasonable compromise around, say, teleconferences or music in the office or working remotely or something? No.

          1. Jules the 3rd*

            Actually, we have seen unreasonable behavior around kids, colognes, and bathrooms – I don’t think you can put this down to ‘dogs’.

    11. KitKat*

      Agreed! I once worked with someone who had a phobia of dogs. We shared our building with dog-friendly offices, and had requested, in my mind pretty reasonably, that the dogs be leashed and supervised when in common spaces. And yet people 1. did not abide by this and 2. made rude, snarky comments to my coworker when asked to leash their dogs. Or sometimes the dog owner would respectfully leash their dog when asked, but the dog owner’s coworker would jump in and say something rude!

      OP, I’m not saying that you would necessarily react this way, but whoever complained has no way of knowing if you or others in your office will react like this.

      1. Yorick*

        My friend always drops the leash and her dog wanders around the bar patio to all the other customers and she thinks it’s so delightful. ugh.

        And when I would keep my dog on a short leash to make sure he was with me and not bothering anybody, she acted like I had to do that because he’s not well behaved.

    12. Feline*

      This is worded more tactfully than I probably would have. Our perception of our own pets’ behavior is not objective because we are accustomed to that behavior. Jumping up on people to say hi, licking people, etc. are things that some people who love dogs think are within the boundaries of good dog behavior and those who aren’t into dogs are uncomfortable with. It’s kind of like the “little noises” that babies make. Parents don’t hear them when they’re contented noises, but nonparents just hear baby noise. That’s all hard stuff to deal with in a shared workspace.

      1. Lil Fidget*

        Hehehe as more of a “dog person” I was thinking this. Usually people’s “sweet, well behaved” children are also pretty startlingly loud to someone who is not used to children. It’s not a judgement on pets or kids, just that everybody gets desensitized what what they are used to.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        This is all tying back to this morning’s letter about how you can’t recommend your child for a job based on your objective assessment of their adorableness.

    13. sam*

      I had a friend growing up who was terrified of dogs. It did not matter what size they were, how “objectively” nice they were. If a dog came near her, she would have what I can only describe as an involuntary panic reaction.

      She had been attacked by a dog as a child.

      I don’t know if it’s fair to expect someone who has an anxiety or fear like that to have to suffer through it, even though I personally love dogs and the main reason I don’t have one is the fact that I work such long hours.

      1. Snark*

        It’s not fair to gratuitously expose someone to something that’s a major phobia, of course. But if, as in this letter, your workplace has a standing dog-friendly policy and other dogs around, I don’t think it’s fair to effectively force everyone’s hand with an anonymous complaint that cites your fear of dogs. If it’s a dog-friendly workplace, and you knew that going in, you were in my opinion tacitly agreeing to either tolerate that, or find mutually agreeable compromises with their owners.

        1. sam*

          sure, but if your fear is, say, specifically tied to larger dogs, and this is the first larger dog that’s been allowed in the office (which is the case, as per OP’s letter), then it’s the first time the issue has come up.

          1. Snark*

            That’s fair, but in that case, it’s still a little bit of an inadvertant bait-and-switch on the owner, and I think there’s still the obligation to at least discuss possible accomodations.

            1. Lil Fidget*

              I also struggle with this because panic triggers can be so weird and specific. There was a letter here about someone being afraid of birds, so and I know someone terribly afraid of insects. It’s a little hard that it’s on your coworkers to never bring something that would trigger someone, and I think if you’re asking for an accommodation it’s kind of on you to suggest something workable. It’s like allergens, I guess we now know that nobody can eat peanuts or peanut butter in schools, but there are so many potential allergens – strawberries, wheatgrass, bananas, rice – I’m just not sure what the solution is.

            2. fposte*

              That’s why I’m pushing for this as a policy issue rather than one between the OP and the dog-resistant co-worker. If the office is going to respond to such complaints by removing the perk, that’s important information for people bringing their dogs in and it should be something they know about in advance.

            3. Lissa*

              I agree with you, and I am a dog fearer/disliker. I think if I go to work in an office that allows dogs and one is there that sets me off, I do have some responsibility as well and don’t get to unilaterally state “phobia” and get what I want anonymously, especially when it’s possible there could be other solutions. I’d feel the same way if it were kids, bathrooms, cologne, birds, Princess Tiana costumes or whatever.

        2. Aurion*

          It is a dog friendly office but I can’t tell from the post whether the office is banning all dogs or this dog. The manager only asked OP to stop bringing their dog, but didn’t mention if the office is making a blanket ban. If only OP’s dog is affected, it may very well be that the dog isn’t quite as well-behaved and loved as OP believes.

          And given the possibility of becoming a pariah at work (where attendance is not optional), I can’t say I blame the complainants (multiple) for being anonymous.

      2. Plague of frogs*

        I am terribly afraid of clowns (and for a very good reason: they are all serial killers). I wouldn’t go work at a circus and then demand that it change for me.

        1. fposte*

          But the OP isn’t working at Petsmart. It’s not a dog-based business. This is more like if you went to work at Spamazon and found everybody brought in clowns, and you were baffled at why you had to deal with clowns when you just wanted to send out emails.

          1. Plague of frogs*

            OK, so I don’t understand why everyone at Spamazon has clowns; I wish they didn’t have clowns. They certainly had a duty to warn me about the clowns before I took the job. They should have a written policy forbidding the clowns from wearing squeaky shoes, and under no circumstance may they oppress me with balloon animals.

            But I don’t get to start the job and then complain about the clowns, thus taking away a perk that other people are enjoying.

            Say you work at place where there is unlimited free junk food (I don’t, thank God, but my husband does and some of his coworkers appear to literally live off of it). Now someone like me who has very little self-control start working there and asks that they get rid of the free food. Should this perk be taken away to serve the needs of one person?

            1. fposte*

              Well, let’s go back to your statement about Spamazon’s duty to warn people about clowns. We don’t know what the other people were told about the dogs. They might not have known they were there. They might have been told they’d never see them. They might have been told that it would be no problem for them to request a dog stop coming. So you’ve started at Spamazon, and it’s a surprise to you that some people have clowns. (It doesn’t seem to be most people.) Do you right away decide that it’s you who has to go and start your job search rather than crimp the style of the clown-keepers, just as it would be if you were opposed to junk food availability?

              I think if you didn’t know, or thought it was a smaller thing, it’s not unreasonable to say “This is a problem for me.” And we have no idea what the complaining people knew when they started, or what the office policy actually is.

              1. Plague of frogs*

                True, we don’t know what the company told the complainer. All we know was that OP was told by the company that she would have a certain perk. That perk is now being taken away from her (and apparently only her–she’s the person who doesn’t get her birthday off because it’s on Leap Day).

                The company has certain responsibilities here:
                -Notify prospective employees that the office is dog friendly.
                -Accommodate employees with allergies/phobias (note that they cannot do this for an anonymous complainer).
                -If they decide to take away a perk based on an anonymous complaint (which they should not), they should be really apologetic and offer a compensating perk, such as a dog-walking service.

                I do have some sympathy for the complainer, because maybe they weren’t told. But back to my junk food analogy–eating too much junk food makes me depressed and unwell. But I still don’t get to tell a company to stop providing it for others, if it was a pre-existing condition before I started at the company.

                1. fposte*

                  I can definitely see making that call; I can also see asking to move your desk so it’s not opposite the snack table. Maybe the complainers would have been open to a similar mitigation, but it clearly wasn’t something that management was prepared to explore.

        2. Lil Fidget*

          Yes, but I suppose the point is, clowns are essential to the job of the circus, whereas presumably dogs have nothing to do with running a newspaper (or whatever the company does). It’s just a perk to boost employee morale, and if it’s not doing that for some people, it might get taken away. I say this as someone who sympathizes with OP for losing a perk that they valued.

    14. MuseumChick*

      This was more first thought. (I really love dogs BTW), a lot of dog owner have blinders to the behavior of their dog and get personally offended and defensive when anyone says anything to them about their dogs behavior.

      OP, I understand being bummed about loosing a perk but please try and think of this from the POV of someone who is afraid of or allergic to dogs. By your own statement tons of people at your work love your dog so if this person had opening voiced their complaint they would likely face some subtle and not so subtle retaliation.

    15. Rusty Shackelford*

      I have found that there’s often a difference between how “sweet, well-trained, and friendly” a dog’s owner thinks the dog is vs. reality.

      Oh, I see you’ve met my mother.

    16. Turquoisecow*

      Yeah, I know we should take Letter Writers at their word, but I’ve known a number of dog owners (and parents, for that matter) who are completely in denial about their angel’s behavior. What OP considers acceptable behavior might be incredibly disruptive to coworkers, or just distracting.

    17. Say what, now?*

      I second, third, fourth… whatever we’re on at this point, this comment. Don’t try and find out who this person is. There was a letter a while back about a person with allergies (a medical condition for God’s sake) who had to request that the dogs not come to the office. The update on that was heartbreaking. She was ostracized and belittled by her coworkers to the point she had to look for another job. Don’t put this person in the position to go through that.

      1. Snark*

        I agree that at this point OP should not try to unmask the complainer, but the complainer should not have complained anonymously – asking someone to give up a perk and take on a major expense is not something you should do anonymously, at least in a sane and reasonable workplace.

        1. Michael Carmichael*

          But that’s precisely why the complainant is anonymous – because there are basically two possible outcomes: 1) OP/the org pressures the complainant to be OK with some arrangement so the dog can stay, which if successful will mean the complainant(s) will feel at least bullied or at worst forced out, or 2) the org decides complainant’s fears are valid and large dog must stay home, and OP is resentful of the perk loss/expense and the working relationship with complainant is damaged (it will be either way, really). I don’t know what a ‘sane and reasonable workplace’ has to do with it, since no matter how sane or reasonable everyone is here, this is an emotionally charged issue and resolving it will leave one or both parties feeling the loss of something they value.

          1. Snark*

            Or there’s actually a reasonable accomodation (OP teleworks, complainer moves to a different area, arrival times are agreed on and staggered so OP isn’t coming in with the dog at the same time complainer is) that could leave both sides feeling as if they got a fair shake. At this point, the loss of something valued is entirely one-sided, and the complainer is getting their way on their terms, with no possibility of discussion. If you’re going to strong-arm someone out of a perk to accomodate your idiosyncracies, I don’t think you get to demand that come without strings attached as well.

            1. Snark*

              And, as I said, this sort of situation is precisely why dog-friendly offices are a bad decision – either nobody wins, or winner takes all.

            2. Starbuck*

              You haven’t outlined any reason why it’s a better idea for the complainer to do so in person rather than anonymously, though. The potential risks so far outweigh the benefits that I’m not surprised they took the opportunity they were given.

              1. Perse's Mom*

                It doesn’t have to be complainer to OP, though. The complainer could go through an intermediary (their own manager, HR, etc) to explore options that could get both parties what they want.

                In this case, the anonymity… well, I don’t take the complaint particularly seriously. If you’re dog phobic in a dog friendly office, even if it’s specific to one dog, you ask for an accommodation. Maybe the only option IS that LW can’t bring her dog to work anymore, but the options can’t even be explored – there cannot be a conversation around the possibility of keeping both parties happy – with an anonymous note.

            3. Nonsenical*

              Being allergic to a dog or afraid of a dog is not idiosyncrasies, the way this is worded is belittling people who have a legit beef and demonstrating why people stay anonymous. I am terrified of dogs, this is not a little thing or something I choose. I have been bit by dogs and prefer to stay far away from them as possible. There are some dogs I am okay with but my own sister who was ‘training’ a guard dog let my niece play so roughly with the dog that the dog bit a neighbor kid and was taken away. Dogs aren’t always this cuddly and having a big dog is frightening. A standard size poodle may be too big for the office and more than one person complained.

          1. Snark*

            Because I think anonymous feedback is a bad policy, except in cases where you’re whistleblowing on unethical or illegal activity.

            1. JM60*

              Anonymous feedback is usually a good idea when someone is afraid of retaliation (either from the employer or coworkers), which I think is usually s reasonable fear in cases like this.

    18. paul*

      Agreed. My dogs have all been moderately well trained but not to the point where I think they *wouldn’t* be at least occasionally disruptive in an office setting for 8+ hours; I can easily imagine them having at least given someone a nudge in an effort to get a pet. In our house that’s one thing, but in an office? Nah, not really cool.

      Also, I don’t know when it became so out of favor to leave dogs alone for 8ish hours-but to be fair I’ve usually had 2 dogs or no dogs, with the only exception being when our last dog was very old (after the other one passed). And at that point he basically slept 20 hours a day.

    19. Roscoe*

      I don’t know. This isn’t to sound heartless, but if you take a job at a dog friendly place, its then a bit much to ask that it no longer be dog friendly because of you. Now its not clear if this is a new person or someone who has been there a while, but it seems that the place was already dog friendly when OP took it. Based on that, it seems like its fair to find out who it is that has a problem and whether there is a compromise that can be made.

    20. Snark*

      Nobody complained about behavior, they complained about allergies and fear of dogs. It strikes me as a distraction to speculate on facts not presented by OP.

      1. Rusty Shackelford*

        None of the complaints mentioned allergies. Two complaints were that the dog was too big to be in an office, and one was from a person who said they were afraid of dogs.

        1. Safetykats*

          The allergies were a different letter. This one was about size. Although I don’t know what “too big” means. We have a service dog in our office who is an English Mastiff; he’s big. He’s also staying, obviously, regardless of what anybody thinks about big dogs.

    21. bonkerballs*

      Also, behaviors that are considered well trained and friendly can still be unwelcome to people who don’t like dogs.

      Personally, as someone who doesn’t like dogs I would never take a job at a dog friendly organization, and I think whoever submitted the anonymous note should have made the same decision. But I also know sometimes perks and policies have to change due to what’s good for everyone now rather than what was good when the perks/policies were set.

    22. Argh!*

      A workplace could require a Canine Good Citizen certificate, which would prove basic training & temperament testing have been completed.

  11. Kramerica Industries*

    What are the reactions of the other people in the office? Is your dog accepted as a fixture, or do people come over to pet her/aww over her? As someone who just flat out doesn’t like dogs, I’d use allergies/fear as an excuse to not be isolated over my unenthusiasm for office pets.

    Does your office have any space away from the common areas? Like a doggy playpen kinda set up?

    1. RachelR*

      So you’d fake an allergy or phobia just because you don’t like dogs?

      You are the reason people who actually have those issues don’t get taken seriously.

      1. Kramerica Industries*

        Honestly, apologies for that – I definitely spoke out of line there. I’ve had bad experiences where people insist that their dog should lick me to show how friendly they are, BECAUSE I said that I don’t like dogs.

        So I agree that this is all very unhelpful to the discussion though. But I stand by my original suggestion of a separate area where people can go to dogs, rather than having them around in common areas.

        1. KellyK*

          In general, lying about phobias or allergies is a problem, and it does have the ability to impact people who really do have those issues. *But* people who refuse to respect your boundaries unless you make up an excuse they deem sufficient are *asking* to be lied to. If that’s the only way you can get someone to get their dog out of your face, then you do what you have to do to protect your own boundaries.

      2. bonkerballs*

        Based on a lifetime of nasty reactions from dog lovers when I mention I don’t like/am afraid of/was traumatized by an attacking dog as a child, I can see where someone would think they needed to exaggerate their own dog issues in order to be taken seriously. It’s not something I think anyone should do, but I 100% understand the impulse.

        1. Argh!*

          You’re not a child now, and dogs are far less likely to attack an adult.

          De-sensitization therapy might help you quite a bit. Children get attacked because they do the “wrong” things in dog body language. They’re on the same level and they will stare in the eyes, which dogs find threatening. (And some dogs are just mean to kids)

          Learning how to “read” dog body language would also help. Some breeds are harder to read than others, but at least you’d gain some control over the situation.

          1. Oilpress*

            But bonkerballs just plain doesn’t want to be around dogs. That’s a perfectly valid preference, and we shouldn’t push people with that preference to change it.

            1. KellyK*

              +1 bonkerballs is entitled to that preference and deserves to have dog owners respect it (and I say that as someone who loves dogs).

        1. Snark*

          You’d be pleased to work with someone who’d lie to screw you out of a perk? Ok. Suit yourself, but I wouldn’t be.

          1. Lissa*

            I read that as “would lie about allergies to be able to avoid the dog without being called heartless”, not “would lie about allergies to get the entire perk taken away from everyone.” The second is way worse.

            (though I’ll just straight up tell people I’m not a dog person and say “Yup sure am!” when I get called heartless so perhaps I’m not a good sample…)

      1. Kramerica Industries*

        100% agree. I’m not someone I’d want to work with either.

        Just want to clarify that I didn’t think this comment through when I wrote it (crappy day and a jaded attitude). So thank you to the commenters who pointed out that this kind of thinking is problematic.

      2. Mousie Housie*

        You’re not helping with the stigma against those who prefer to work with humans, not animals.

  12. Not a Real Giraffe*

    OP this really stinks.

    I’m curious if the bring-your-dog policy is new, because I wonder why someone who is afraid of dogs would accept a job where one of the perks is that the office is dog-friendly. (Though I can also understand that the colleague might not be afraid of smaller dogs, which are more typically found in dog-friendly offices.)

    Not that the above musings have any relevance as to what to do now; it’s just the first question that popped into my mind!

    1. AnotherAlison*

      “I wonder why someone who is afraid of dogs would accept a job where one of the perks is that the office is dog-friendly.”

      Because it’s a good job? I’ve never seen a dog-friendly office IRL. I’ve seen liquor store dogs, and hardware store dogs, warehouse dogs, and of course my vet brings his dog to work, but every time this comes up, it is a weird concept to me that office-type businesses have this perk. Whether an office is dog friendly or not would be way, way down the list of things I’m even thinking about if I was job hunting. I’m worried about what type of work I’m doing and how much I get paid, usually.

      1. Not a Real Giraffe*

        Oh for sure. I guess I’d imagine that the “hey you can bring your dog to work!” conversation would happen at some point during the interview process, but I can totally see this being something left out of the conversation if either party doesn’t talk pointedly about perks/office culture.

        1. AnotherAlison*

          Even if I’m talking about perks, as the person who is not going to bring her dog to work, I don’t think I would ask about it (unless I had previously been in a dog office and was trying to avoid that). I suppose it could be brought up by the interviewer, but unless I see the office looking like a dog park, I’d prioritize everything else before not taking a job I want because I don’t like dogs and dogs might show up occasionally. (hypothetically – I like dogs)

          1. Natalie*

            I think there’s a difference between not liking dogs and being afraid of them, though. I’m mildly phobic of fish, so I probably wouldn’t accept a job at an office with a big fish tank. And if I had to out of desperation I don’t know that handling it via anonymous note would be ideal.

      2. WeevilWobble*

        My sister had an office that accepted dogs. She was in marketing. You’d see the dogs everywhere when you went to interview.

        And people shouldn’t work there if they have an issue with it.

        1. Kramerica Industries*

          As someone in marketing, it bothers me that I can’t apply for amazing jobs just because it’s a “dog-friendly culture”.

          I think OP’s office is a great example of valuing and respecting the needs of all employees/potential candidates. Sure, having office dogs is great. Until it isn’t. Why would you want to deter potentially great workers because of your love of dogs? This is a business – attract top talent.

          1. Future Analyst*

            But I think the “dog-friendly culture” is as much a cultural thing as, say, Nerf-gun competitions. If you know that you wouldn’t be happy in such a culture, don’t work there… it’s unreasonable to take the job and then expect the company to change their whole culture to fit you. No-one is telling you that you can’t apply there, just that you should be aware of what to expect.

            1. Jadelyn*

              This. I’m in HR, which means I can move around to almost any industry because all companies above a certain size start needing what I do, regardless of their actual business. But you could not pay me enough to take a job with one of the hip/trendy tech-bro frathouses that call themselves offices, which we have quite a number of around the Bay Area, because I would hate that kind of environment. It doesn’t mean they’re objectively wrong for having the culture they do, and it doesn’t mean I should resent that I can’t apply for amazing jobs just because it’s a “bro-friendly culture”. It just means I need to filter that out of my job search and move on.

              1. AnotherAlison*

                I think the thing to keep in mind, though, is not everyone has the flexibility that you do to work in “almost any industry.” On the surface, I have very transferable skills, but in reality, I can only “easily” find work my industry at my current pay grade. (It’s still not very easy. . .) When you’re already looking for something that is a unicorn job when you’re talking about the whole jobsphere, it would suck if a lot of the top companies moved towards a culture you weren’t into. There are already so many directly work related things to worry about when job seeking. For example, some companies in my industry execute most of their work in offshore offices, others are conglomerates of 50 different acquired companies without a coherent culture, still others are “hire and fire” companies that don’t offer a lot of stability. I don’t want to add nerf war companies or dog companies to that list of things I’m not looking for!

                1. Jadelyn*

                  Someone in marketing, like the person I was responding to, still has similar flexibility to what I’m talking about – perhaps not as universal, but most companies above a certain size will have a dedicated marketing/communications team of some kind.

                  And I mean, I get that it sucks to have to cross companies off your list – but that doesn’t necessarily mean those companies should be changing their culture or that it’s legit for people to complain about the culture of companies they don’t work for simply because they’re feeling left out that they’re not a right fit for those companies.

            2. Kramerica Industries*

              I agree to a certain extent. I think the frat-bro kind of culture represents the organization as a whole. But what if you like the overall culture, but don’t like Nerf gun competitions? That wouldn’t deter me from applying to an otherwise great company.

              Nerf gun fights are less prickly because you can choose not to join, but people get a lot more invested in dogs, which makes it more sensitive. I think there’s less of a stigma around people who don’t want to play ping pong vs. people who don’t like dogs.

            3. fposte*

              Yeah, I think there’s a lot of gray area in this one for me. I absolutely think a business owner has the prerogative of creating a dog-friendly, cat-friendly, Nerf-battle-friendly office, and when you’re talking a perk that involves genuine financial reliance, like this one, it can be a big draw.

              But I think the *office* needs to figure out how committed it is to this. Is this a dog-lover’s or tolerators only office, the way Amazon is? If so, let people know when they’re applying. Is it a “dogs on sufferance until it’s a problem” office? Let people know that too. But you have to decide which you are and be clear with people whose day to day life really depends on what you mean there.

            4. JM60*

              ” it’s unreasonable to take the job and then expect the company to change their whole culture to fit you.”

              Except if that work culture is causing you health issues. People shouldn’t have to be subject to health problems caused by an employer’s work culture in order to get a paycheck.

                1. Safetykats*

                  You absolutely get to ask for an accommodation for any protected condition/disability. And if it’s a protected condition/disability you should get an accommodation. That accommodation won’t necessarily be the one you want. For example, if you’re allergic to dogs, and the person in the next office has a service dog, you probably won’t find the service dog removed from the building. You’re more likely to find yourself moved to somewhere out of the way of the dog and it’s owner.

                2. JM60*

                  Given how many people in this thread are saying that someone with allergy problems shouldn’t be working there, it’s very understandable that

                  “And presumably, if there were allergies (none of the complaints were about allergies), the affected person should have contacted HR about an accomodation.”

                  “And presumably, if there were allergies (none of the complaints were about allergies), the affected person should have contacted HR about an accomodation.”

                  It sounds like they may have request accommodation, but anonymously. Given how many people on this thread are basically saying that someone with dog allergies shouldn’t have taken a job there, I think it’s very understandable that they would want to request the accommodation through an anonymous complaint rather than identify themselves as the one needing the accommodation. If you request accommodation by non-anonymously going to HR, you face a greater risk of retaliation, which seems like a justifiable fear in cases like this.

          2. Jadelyn*

            It’s not like every single office out there has dog-friendly culture. There are other amazing jobs out there. I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect that every potential employer you’d like to work for should conform to your preferred office culture standards, and then to be put out that some don’t.

            You also seem to be presuming that “top talent” isn’t bringing their dogs in – what happens if the business with the dog-friendly culture has a couple of really top-tier people who bring their dogs in? Would you think it was a reasonable exchange to get rid of the dogs, and probably lose those couple of high-performers, in exchange for hiring one new *potential* high-performer?

          3. Lindsay J*

            What about top talent that choose not to take a job because they can’t bring their dogs to the office? That argument works both ways.

          4. Jennifer Thneed*

            But there’s so many jobs you can’t apply for! I mean, this is a big country and most of the jobs available will be outside your city, and maybe even outside your state.

            > Why would you want to deter potentially great workers because of
            > your love of dogs? This is a business – attract top talent.

            Why can’t businesses be different from each other?

          5. Bagpuss*

            I don’t. They are respecting the needs of an anonymous complainer, but they are not valuing or respecting the LW’s needs or the perk which was a specific reason she took the job, and they are doing it without any discussion or attempt to find a middle ground or compromise.

            I’m not a dog person, but the one-sided nature of how the OPs company has handled this bothers me.

        2. Mousie Housie*

          I simply disagree. You cannot prioritize the rights of animals who contribute zero value to the workplace over actual and potential employees.

          1. Temperance*

            I don’t know that it’s fair to say that dogs contribute “zero value”. There are plenty of people who get benefit from being around animals.

              1. Jadelyn*

                It depends on how you define value. Is there not value in keeping morale high among employees? No, the dogs aren’t bringing in money themselves, but people who are happy perform better, which does bring in money for the company. (Not that necessarily everyone will be made happier by the presence of dogs, but I really dispute the idea that there’s “zero value” to any nonessential perk like having dogs around.)

              2. V*

                They have value to the company because it means they might get employees like the OP who otherwise might turn down the job accept it because they can bring their dog.

                1. Tina*

                  By the same token they might not get, or might later lose, good employees who don’t want to work around either dogs in general or OP’s dog in particular.

              3. lawyer*

                They do if people the company wants to hire elect to work there in part because of the dog-friendliness.

                Many workplace perks don’t add value to the company beyond making it more attractive to the type of person the company wants to hire.

                1. fposte*

                  Right. Coffee doesn’t add value to the company. Vending machines don’t add value to the company. Gyms don’t; day care doesn’t. They add value to the *employees* of the company who want these things, and the employees bring the value to the company. Like it or not, dog-friendliness is highly valued by a lot of people in some high-earning places, and if you take that perk away there’s a big risk of the company’s losing value.

              4. Lora*

                I can think of a lot of humans who don’t add value to their employers, yet mysteriously they are still employed. So I’m going to go with, this is not the best argument ever. Employers spend all kinds of money on things that appear frivolous to us mere mortals.

            1. Tina*

              Unless it’s a service animal situation I don’t think that the benefit an employee is getting from the animal being there is reasonable baseline expectation of an office job. I get a mental benefit from having a nice fuzzy blanket wrapped around me and a scented candle burning nearby but I can’t have those things in an office. Now, I understand in this situation that it was a dog-friendly office so a perk is potentially being taken away from OP and I sympathize with that, but if the dog is having a negative effect on someone in the office that should take precedence over OP’s desire to have their dog with them at work.

              1. Yorick*

                I agree. I love dogs but I don’t think having them around is going to improve morale in a way that increases productivity. Even if so, that value added to the owner and a few coworkers is probably not equal to the cost to other employees or to the business.

          2. Elizabeth H.*

            You’re not really prioritizing the rights of animals, you’re prioritizing following through on an advertised job perk for employees of being able to bring their jobs to work. It’s like the free food perk. It’s not a RIGHT to have free food at work, but if you chose this job because the free food at work was a huge benefit to you, and then because of anonymous complaints the perk was taken away, it would be disappointing, and it would be frustrating if the perk was simply removed without the opportunity to attempt an accommodation.

        3. Rusty Shackelford*

          And people shouldn’t work there if they have an issue with it.

          Interestingly, if you read the first linked post, you’ll see that sometimes you don’t know it’s a thing until you already work there.

          1. Natalie*

            Okay, but we don’t have any reason to think that’s what’s happening here. Some places give tons of vacation and then punish employees who use it. Does that make it relevant to every discussion of vacation?

          2. Health Insurance Nerd*

            But I don’t think that was the case in this scenario based on the letter writers assertion that the dog-friendly culture is one of the reasons she chose to work there. Which means she was told up front, before accepting an offer, that this was a perk.

            1. Rusty Shackelford*

              True. I was only responding to a comment that said people who can’t handle dog-friendly offices shouldn’t work in them.

            2. biobottt*

              But we don’t necessarily know if the person who is objecting to the OP’s dog knew that the office was one in which people bring their dogs in regularly. So the complainant may not have known that they would not find that aspect of the culture objectionable. Or they are OK with small dogs, but didn’t realize that the office would also allow large dogs.

            3. HappySnoopy*

              It’s not necessarily a zero sum option.

              OP during interview sees dogs or has it come up in interview answering the “what do you do in your free time” question from earlier poster and finds it’s the perk that tips the scales.

              Anonymous doesn’t realize the doggieness of the place until after he/she starts and thinks ok, scary but I like the job and I can try to suck it up for a shitzu or Mini schnauzer that I can pretend isn’t peeking out of Brenda’s purse so I’m not the allergy pariah I read about on AAM. The full size poodle is a different story. I’ve got to speak up.

        4. blackcat*

          I love dogs, but I’m super allergic to them and can get asthma attacks from too many dog licks (you have no idea how sad this makes me).

          It’s pretty uncool to say that I shouldn’t work for a company because of an easily accommodated medical condition.

          1. Safetykats*

            Asthma attacks are serious. And you definitely have the right not to be licked by random dogs at work. However, that doesn’t mean it’s reasonable to ban dogs that aren’t trying to lick you against your will, just because you’re worried that they might. It might be a reason to give you a cubicle or office in a less dog-ridden corner of the building.

      3. KR*

        You’re right that this is generally why people take jobs, because they need a good job. I think we had a letter where the OP was interviewing and wasn’t told it was a dog friendly office before they got there. Some offices probably don’t do the best job forwarding people.

        Also, my office is dog friendly. We don’t have customers or frequent unplanned visitors, our office is all tile, and we don’t have anything that can be damaged by the prescence of a dog. My old man naps peacefully in his bed all day with a bork or two a day at the goings on outside the door, and a mid day potty break.

        1. HappySnoopy*

          I read your bork typo as book at first and thought you had an awesomely intellectual puppy. I picture him with glasses.

      4. Roscoe*

        I’ve never worked at one, but I definitely have friends who do. I feel like that would be something that you know going into a job. IF management wasn’t telling people, that is problematic definitely. But assuming they knew that, its kind of crappy to take the job, then expect people to change.

        1. Pollygrammer*

          And, due to the anonymity of the complaint, not even open the door to any kind of compromise.

      5. Penny Lane*

        In my personal experience, I worked in an office where there was a dog — it was the owner’s dog, she was really into training therapy dogs, and the office was dog-friendly in the sense that SHE could bring her dog (she lived within walking distance); he was indeed well-trained and pretty much napped the whole time. But that didn’t mean that the office was dog-friendly in the sense that the rest of us could have regularly brought our dogs in. It was a specific perk bc she was the owner and could run the show. I don’t have a single problem with that – it’s her show.

    2. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

      Well, we’ve had the letter where an OP had the dog-friendliness of the office sprung on her! It’s an unusual enough perk that it seems like something that should be mentioned proactively by hiring managers/recruiters during interviews.

    3. robot*

      I accepted a job at a dog friendly office and am afraid of dogs! It’s not surprising at all. It was an amazing professional opportunity and wouldn’t have been worth giving up over this. This also depends on how severe your fear of dogs is. I’m pretty nervous around dogs and dislike them, but I don’t have a phobia. As long as the dog is on the other end of the office from me, I’ll be fine.

      Also, even in dog friendly offices, it’s not like everyone’s bringing dogs in for a dog party daily. Different workplaces handle this differently, but there’s probably only a few dogs on any given day. I’m lucky that no one on my team brings in a dog, but if someone started bringing in a dog regularly, I would talk to my manager and ask that the dog be moved down the hall from me, etc so that I wouldn’t be stressed. My company takes the position that when it’s a question of dog vs person, person wins every time, because this is a valuable perk but it’s not worth losing people over.

    4. Blue Clear Sky*

      I was wondering the same thing! I’m assuming that this is not a new perk – why should OP have to lose out because someone else doesn’t like it? Especially if it was included in the list of “Look how awesome it is to work here!” Spiel when OP and the anonymous complainer were hired. It seems unfair to take a job in a dog friendly office and then complain about people bringing their dogs, no?

      I’d much rather have people bring their dogs to work than their kids – at least my dog has never punched anyone in the groin like this poor person: https://www.askamanager.org/2017/07/my-bosss-kid-punched-me-in-the-groin.html

      1. Allergic grinch*

        Neither kids nor dogs belong in an office. Why should someone with severe allergies lose out on the ability to make a living or an excellent career opportunity because people want to bring their pets to work? Pets offer no business value to an office environment, where as qualified employees do. My allergies to animals are severe and I will absolutely prioritize my career opportunities and options and health over anyone’s non-service animal pet and feel zero guilt about it. I would be the pet perk killer and I would own it. Some pet owners, just like some parents, have no idea how crazy their near militant zeal over their little beasts comes across. You have no inherent or implied right to have animals in an office just like I have no inherent or implied right to bring my kids to an office.

        Service animals are a completely different issue and I would go out of my way to accommodate that animal, but not for pets.

        1. fposte*

          There are plenty of offices that do find the dog presence to bring value, though, so I don’t think you can simply state that it doesn’t. I don’t think it’s about belonging or not belonging; it’s just about the norm and practice at a particular office.

          That being said, I agree with you that the comfort of people who can’t work with dogs is more important than having dogs there, but Amazon has gone a different way on that and seems to be doing all right anyway. (Interestingly, there was an article a few years ago by somebody who really didn’t like dogs and eventually had to leave Amazon because of it, but I can’t find it amid all the articles celebrating Amazon’s dog friendliness.)

          1. Allergic grinch*

            I have never actually come across a pet friendly office, but if I did and I was qualified and the opportunity was really good, I would lean on ADA to get myself accommodated. I’m not losing out because of a medical issue that is entirely out of my control.

            So, I see your point, but I still feel strongly about mine. The number of times people have told me to “just” take allergy medications is amazing. There are varying levels of allergies to dogs from a slightly runny nose to closed throat emergency and everything in between. I don’t “hate” animals, I just cannot medically be around them and I fail to see how that should exclude me from a job opportunity in the same way that an company can’t reject someone in a wheelchair because their office is on the second floor and they don’t want to put in an elevator.

            I wouldn’t apply for work at Amazon for other reasons, and I’m not suggesting the pet perk be outlawed in general, but rather companies are not always going to win the pet perk over allergy accommodation issue in court, not should they, and the idea that people with allergies should just go work somewhere else rankles me.

            1. fposte*

              I absolutely agree with you; an ADA-related condition is different from a distaste and should be treated accordingly.

              1. Allergic grinch*

                Now the question for the OPs situation is whether the fear of dogs is an actual phobia or a distaste. Maybe that’s where the confidential complaint is problematic, but on the other hand, based on some of the reactions here, you can see why they might want to be anonymous.

                I guess I’m biased because I get so tired of seeing animals everywhere and explaining why I don’t want them around and whenever this topic comes up here, there are always the people who say “just work somewhere else”. My answer to that is “no”.

                In any case, I think we mostly agree.

                1. fposte*

                  I think this is one of those situations where there doesn’t need to be a villain for it to be a problem. The OP was promised something that’s a huge benefit to her that’s now being taken away. The complainants find their work really disturbed by an unusual work situation. Both of those things are legitimate problems.

                2. JM60*


                  I don’t think the OP was ‘promised’ it. I think it’s more like the OP was told they could do it. This isn’t really something you can promise, because it can be a health issue for other people. For this reason, I think this kind of perk is one that should always be viewed as volatile, rather than guaranteed.

                3. JM60*

                  To add to my previous post, I think it’s reasonable for people in the OP’s position to be disappointed that they’re losing a perk that they care about. However, I think that they should keep in mind when they start enjoying this perk that other people may have a reasonable need (and a right) for this perk to stop.

            2. Safetykats*

              Sure, but this is different. If you’re asking for a medical accommodation you can’t do that with an anonymous note in a suggestion box. You also don’t get just any accommodation you might want. Your employer has the right to require a medical exam to help determine the appropriate accommodation, which might work out not to be banning dogs at all, but something entirely different.

        2. Blue Clear Sky*

          I would not take a job at a family-friendly office because I don’t like kids – I would not accept the job because it’s an “excellent career opportunity” and then complain about kids being around and ask that they not be allowed. That would be unfair and incredibly selfish of me. It’s the same scenario here assuming the dog friendly culture was in place when both OP & the complainer were hired – it’s not fair to ruin it for everyone else.

          1. Allergic grinch*

            I mean, good for you.

            My career and health will take priority over someone’s pets though, every time.

            1. Mr. Rogers*

              That’s fine, but just be prepared for the possibility that a company values the pet loving employee more than you. And consider what you would do for your extremely important, sacrifice anyone in your way, career then. I think prioritizing your health is great! But I think you (and others here) are forgetting that you are not always the one the company cares most about keeping. Pet owners might actually be sometimes better at a job than you are, the two things are not related.

              1. Allergic grinch*

                I would love to see a company explain to a judge how someone’s pet take priority over someone’a ADA accommodation.

                Ya’ll should take a look at the civil discussion fposte and I had about this topic and calm down a bit.

            2. penty*

              No. You’re career and health will take priority over someone else’s wellbeing, career, and priorities.

              And that is the EPITOMY of selfish.

              Shame on you Grinch. Shame.

              1. Pollygrammer*

                And we’re not talking about “someone” here. We’re talking about demanding priority over everyone. And yeah, I think that’s selfish.

                1. Pollygrammer*

                  If you took a job at a dog-friendly office, it would be your prerogative to ask for ADA accommodation and ban all the dogs. It would be your new coworkers’ prerogative to hate you forever for it.

                2. Allergic grinch*

                  It must be hard, going through life with such anger and hatred. I can’t imagine hating someone for taking advantage of the legal protections that exist to make sure that people with medical disabilities have the same opportunities that everyone else has. Shame on me, indeed.

                3. fposte*

                  Yeah, I gotta say, this wouldn’t be a good look for the dog owners. I can understand the gulp of shock and the frustration at the loss of the perk, but hating the disabled for seeking accommodation seems unadmirable.

                4. Pollygrammer*

                  I’m allergic to shellfish, and even the smell can make me sick. But if a company has Lunchtime Lobster Club, and it’s everybody’s favorite part of the job? I’m not take the job and demand they get rid of it.

                  Would I be within my rights to? Sure. Would it be a kind thing to do? Absolutely not.

                  And, Allergic Grinch, maybe I’m reading your tone (and, um, your username) wrong, but it sounds like you’re kind of taking delight in the fact that your allergy would allow you to overrule peoples’ perks, and that’s really kind of shitty.

                5. Allergic grinch*

                  You are reading my tone wrong, I take no “delight” and I changed my name to allergic grinch because you have no idea how many dog manaiacs have told me my allergies are fake or that I should “just” take medication so I’m anonymous for this. My career and my health are more important than pets, I stand by that firmly, and frankly, the law is on my side. I know it hurts people’s feelings but animals can kill me, I need air to live, so you will just have to deal with my firm boundaries and my lack of willingness to pass up on career opportunities because of medical issues totally out of my control.

                  What YOU do re:your seafood allergy is up to you, no beef from me. If you were my co-worker I would gladly give up lobster club (and I love lobster) so that you won’t die. But then I always prioritize the needs over wants.

                6. Nonsenical*

                  The ADA does not disagree. You can be accommodated as long as it is not an undue hardship. If you choose to apply to a place that has dogs, they do not have to rid dogs just to accommodate you. If the office is dog friendly, they may tell you to work from home but I don’t think you’re going to win in court your ability to breathe if you knowingly apply to a place that touts dog as a perk. It’d be like knowingly applying to work at a vet, ADA isn’t going to cover banning dogs from your wish to work at a vet when you are allergic to dogs.

                  ADA is within reasonable boundaries without creating an undue hardship upon the company. If you’re asking them to take away a perk they’ve guaranteed just for you, the court is not going to back you up and you’re taking aDA to an extreme. Accommodations are worked out reasonably without impacting performance and that includes other people’s abilities. The fact that you’re calling yourself a grinch means you’re purposefully choosing to rile people up with this line of discourse. I’ve used ADA many times in my life, but the way you’re using it as a sword is not how it would play out or be intended.

                7. Allergic grinch*

                  Actually, you’re wrong on a few fronts.

                  1. we are not talking about a vet office, having dogs at work is a perk, and the ADA is not likely to consider it an undue hardship to ban dogs in an office that does work in no way related to animals. 2. The ADA exists so that people with medical disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else, I’m not “using” it as a sword. Point in fact, I’m not using it at all, as you can see from my posts with fposte.
                  3. My choice of screen name is not evidence that I’m trying “rile” people up, you made that up in your head because you don’t like my opinion.
                  4. If I apply to an amazing position that advances my career, I’m not going to decide not to apply because some people want to have their pets next to them all day. It’s great for you that you’ve never experienced the terrifying throat closing can’t breath allergic reaction that Happen to people with severe animal allergies have, but I have, and it’s not because I’m selfish, it’s just how I was born. It may not be “fair” that this means some hypothetical people might not be able to have their dogs at work but it’s just as “not fair” that my job opportunities are limited as a result. In fact, I think it’s less fair because on top of that additional limit, I also very frequently have crazy dog maniacs call me a liar or wellsplain how I can deal with it via medication and in this day and age, people seem to be taking their little dander and fur depositor monsters everywhere. Does it make me grumpy (or grinchy)? Well, yes, it does, sorry if that “riles” you up.

      2. Red Reader*

        Mine did, sigh. We had a plumber working on our house, and she – a 70 pound bloodhound/lab mix, who had already been introduced to him and was settled down on her pillow in my office – walked up to him when he came in to tell me something, politely sat down in front of him with her tail a-wagging, and went to fist-bump, totally unprompted and unexpected. Thwacked him right in the goodies. I was mortified. He laughed it off, after the initial uh surprise, and ended up spending his coffee breaks (it was an all-day project) in the backyard playing with her, thank bob.

    5. Observer*

      This whole thread perfectly explains one reason why the people (not singular- multiple people) who complained did so anonymously. Why would anyone in their right mind risk being told “well, if you don’t like it you should quite. You should never have taken this job anyway.”

      1. Murphy*

        I think the question of why someone who didn’t like dogs/was afraid of dogs would choose to work in a dog friendly office is a valid one though.

        1. Starbuck*

          Maybe because it was the highest-paying offer they had? Or the only offer? Or the one closest to where they lived? There are lots of possible reasons. I can imagine someone who’s only a little desperate (and once you’re unemployed, that’s most people) convincing themselves they could deal with it because they needed the job – especially if they only have issues with large dogs. Then later realizing that actually they couldn’t, or surprise, this large dog showed up. I don’t think that’s acting in bad faith.

      2. V*

        Why is it unreasonable to suggest that if someone is unhappy about their company culture that instead of complaining about the already existing culture and trying to change it they go look for work someplace they’d be happier?

        1. Mr. Rogers*

          I second this. No one is saying the complainer should be left destitute, never to work again. Just that maybe if this is such a problem for them, a dog-friendly office is a bad fit.

          1. Observer*

            Exactly. And you can be a perfectly reasonable person to decide that being forced out of a job is not something you want to “own”.

    6. Yorick*

      Maybe they mentioned the dog-friendliness in the interview. Maybe I’m scared of dogs but I think it’ll be ok – they said no one on my team has a dog, so there shouldn’t be any dogs around me, right? And the dogs that I might see in the hall or something will probably be small, well-behaved dogs.

      Now I’m working there and there is a huge dog two cubicles away, and her owner thinks she is so cute when she runs out to greet passerby and wanders around the floor to steal lunches off coworker’s desks. This is a friendly dog, but also a nuisance and maybe terrifying to some people.

      1. krysb*

        But on whose part was that bad decision made? Should the rules for the entire office be changed because you made a presumption about yourself that wasn’t true?

        1. Yorick*

          I just think we shouldn’t bash people who end up working in dog-friendly offices. You often don’t have much of an idea what the physical office environment will be like before you take a job.

      2. Pollygrammer*

        Maybe that’s when you address the dog’s behavior and location, and not the fact that it’s allowed in the office at all?

  13. Penny Lane*

    I might also note that plenty of people “leave their dogs alone every day” for hours — and manage that by getting a dog-walker to come let the dog out at lunch. (I agree with you it’s not fair to leave a dog alone all day long.)

    1. Brandy*

      My pups stay home all day. It might not be fair but they have a great home and there are 5 of them to keep each other company. And I make my off hours all about spending time with them. I have about an hour commute each way but theyre only alone between 7 and 4 daily. Its just part of life. They stay busy barking out the windaw and laying around. ….boy I wish I was doing just that right now (laying around on the couch, sleeping).

      1. Just Peachy*

        My dog is in a similar situation. She is generally alone at home from about 7:30-4, sometimes less depending on my husband’s schedule. We’ve set up cameras just to see what she does, and she lays on the couch and sleeps about 80% of the time. It’s not a bad life for her. She’s also a dog who has MAYBE has scratched at the door twice since we’ve gotten her (at 10 months old) to go potty, so she’s really fine with not being let out all day. Most of the time even when we do take her out when we get home, it takes her several minutes to do the deed (just because she’d rather walk around and enjoy the fresh air).

        We also spoil her when we are there, in the evenings and weekends (daily walks, multiple trips to the dog park a week, lots of cuddles and love.)

        1. Brandy*

          Oh yeah. I have recently fallen prey to the lets go out in the middle of the night gag, and its just because they wanna look around. Meanwhile….I am dying to pass back out. We did buy this house mainly because the back door opens to a fenced in yard but still, I cant sleep with them outside and no doggie doors, those things would be swinging from my pups and I have inside only cats. So. But Im onto them now. No going outside after 11. “youre cut off between 11 and 5:30”.

          1. Just Peachy*

            Haha, it is a good rule to instill. My parents had a dog that did this all the time. After a while, they stopped allowing him to go out after a certain time until the morning, and he eventually stopped begging to go out at nighttime.

          2. sam*

            heh. my old (retired) doorman was famous for giving out dog treats. All the dogs in the neighborhood would drag their owners to our front door. Once I was dogsitting my parents’ dog for a few weeks, and Ollie started begging to go out at the exact time when Al would come on duty in the evening (I live on the second floor above the entrance, so we could actually hear him out my window) – I finally figured it out when we got downstairs one night, made it to the lobby and then Ollie pointedly turned around and tried to get back on the elevator as soon as he got his cookie instead of actually going outside.

          3. Natalie*

            Our dog has a curfew because going out after a certain hour seems to rev him back up like crazy. Last time I let him out after his curfew, when he came back in he zoomed up and down the stairs so much he pulled a muscle.

            Dogs. They dumb.

              1. Natalie*

                Hurray! This is a cranky comments section so I’m glad my dingus has brought some humor. :)

                (His leg is fine now, btw. Apparently dogs can strain their muscles like people and they basically just need to rest like people.)

      2. Magenta Sky*

        There’s a really big difference between leaving one dog alone all day and leaving more than one dog alone all day. Dogs are very social creatures, and they don’t generally do well with isolation. The letter writer would do better by her pooch to get a second one if she has to stop bringing him into the office. (This, of course, may present problems of its own if she rents.)

        1. Just Peachy*

          I think that really depends on the breed. In some instances, yes, but MANY dogs are also fine (and even prefer) being home by themselves. A lot of dogs are just not social.

          1. LAI*

            Agreed that it depends. I had been trying to find another dog to keep my dachshund mix company and fostered several as a tryout, but he never took to any of them. I did end up with a second dog but they seem to tolerate each other more than play together…

          2. KellyK*

            This is also true. I remember the first day I worked from home after getting my dog (a shar-pei mix). “This will be great!” I thought “Puppy cuddles all day long.” She walked back to the bedroom to take a nap about 5 minutes after I started working. So much for that.

        2. Brandy*

          True. Ive always had pairs. Once I was down to one dog, but he was older, very calm and we have cats too. So he was ok being the only pup. He actually preferred it to the heathens I have now. But theyre good.

        3. A Non E. Mouse*

          We got a dog for our dog for this reason – he was lonely and a little anxious, calmed right down when he had a buddy.

          Second dog is no longer with us, and first dog is now old enough that if WE are home during the day, he gets huffy and sulky – he enjoys the quiet time.

          So it could really go either way, and even change over the lifetime of the same dog.

          1. Brandy*

            cute. Kinda like Dharma from Dharma and Greg. “This is my dog Spot and his dog Ollie” I don’t remember their names.

            1. fposte*

              “My dog Stinky and Stinky’s dog Nunzio.” (But do I remember anything about the Peloponnesian War? Of course not.)

      3. Middle School Teacher*

        My dog stays home all day too. If I have a really long day I’ll get my mom to let him out and feed him, but he can do 10 hours at home easily.

    2. AnotherAlison*

      I have two dogs who stay home alone all day in indoor kennels with very comfy memory foam beds. I have a kid who gets home from school earlier than I get home, so it’s not like they’re spending 12 hr days alone, but they spend a lot of time alone. One dog is an English Setter and very much a people dog, but she is fine with this routine. If we’re home, she sneaks off to a back bedroom and sleeps on a bed all day by herself. The other dog is 100 years old and doesn’t know if we are there or not.

      When I was a kid, my dog stayed outside during the day, even in winter, and when my mother was a kid no dogs were allowed indoors, ever. We may have humanized dogs a little too much at this point. : )

    3. Another person*

      Or also, like I leave my dog alone all day while I’m at work (8ish hours) and he is fine. He does exactly what he does if we are home during the day which is sleep (except he does it on the couch where he isn’t allowed to be if we are there to enforce rules). He gets plenty of attention/walks in the morning/evening/weekends and is pretty chill with it.

      1. ThatGirl*

        Yeah, our dog is alone 8-9 hours on workdays and he mostly snoozes in various spots, on the couch, on top of my husband’s discarded socks, on the bed, in the sun in the guestroom….

      2. Brandy*

        I have noticed that when I was home sick or on vacation, the dogs are ready for me to go back to work so they can rest all day as opposed to entertaining me.

      3. Kelly*

        My dad leaves his dog alone during the day and comes home at lunch to feed him. The dog spends his day with the cats. All of them end up on the couches they aren’t supposed to be on because he finds grey dog hair and orange, white, and peach cat hair on them.

    4. kible*

      yup, my roommate leaves her dog alone all day, 7am to 5:30pm usually. though pupper is >100lbs and darn good at “holding it in” without getting uncomfortable.

      1. Brandy*

        I one time, put down piddle pads, thinking they’d be needed. Nope. The cats played slip and slide all day ling on them and the pups slept.

          1. Brandy*

            I lined them down the hall that ended in a wall. I came home and all the pads were bunched up in front of the wall.

    5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      There’s no need to admonish OP for taking advantage of a perk that also benefits their dog. Sure, many people leave their dog and make other arrangements. But speaking personally, I’d reject a job with a 25+ min commute if I also had to leave my dog alone all day.

      1. Anja*

        When I was house shopping I bought a house within a specific commute to work entirely because of dog timings. If I had to search for another job I’d rule out any where the work hours/commute combo was over a certain length of time. My dog (a lab cross from field lines) would likely not be suited to coming to work other than very specific situations (somewhere where we’re entirely left alone on our own – which is not particularly common in jobs where you can’t just work from home).

      2. EddieSherbert*

        +1 for me. If I was OP, I’d be considering job searching if I didn’t feel I could afford a dog walker or doggy daycare.

        I need to be close enough to let my pup out during the day. My dog does not do well staying home alone for a full day (which would 8-5pm + commute for me). And he’s very well-behaved (an opinion that is backed up by the AKC Canine Good Citizen and Community Canine awards). He’s just too high energy to sit and stare out the window all day.

    6. Eye of Sauron*

      My dog is spoiled… she is either in doggy day care or she is with our retired neighbors.

      That said, if we didn’t have the neighbors, she would be in doggy daycare during the day. Although, now that I say that, she usually needs a recovery day after daycare because of all the running and playing. I’m pretty sure she’d sleep through the alternate days just fine if she had spend them alone.

    7. Snark*

      Yep, absolutely – but dog-walkers don’t walk for free, and suddenly picking up an extra expense due to a complaint from someone who didn’t even face you personally about it can feel like a raw deal.

  14. Antilles*

    I did not realize “anonymous complaint” boxes were actually a thing outside of TV/movies. Commentariat, are these really a thing that companies do? If so, how does it work in practice?

    I’m just seeing it from the outside and it seems like a really bad way to handle issues. How do you follow up for more information when a complaint is unclear? What happens when someone puts in a complaint and management decides it’s not valid? What do you do if someone brings up a serious legal issue (e.g., sexual harassment, alleged discrimination, etc) that demands major action? How do you keep people from using it to grind an axe? Etc…

      1. Alice*

        I think an anonymous ethics and compliance helpline is different from a complaint box where people give anonymous feedback about their coworkers.

          1. Bagpuss*

            I think a helpline is different as you have a person on the other end who can ask questions to get more information, can suggest ways of moving forward, etc.

      2. Naptime Enthusiast*

        Same, it’s supposed to be used for whistle-blower type issues to prevent retaliation though, not personnel complaints.

      3. Magenta Sky*

        My employer contracts with a service for that purpose. As far as I know, it doesn’t get much use, because they also try hard to maintain an open door culture where people feel comfortable talking to whoever they need to talk to about problems. But the fact that they *can* contract a service tells me it’s fairly common.

      4. Lindsay J*

        My company’s complaint hotlines were always staffed by outside companies. So you were anonymous to your company, but they had a way of contacting you to gather more information if it was a serious issue that needed to be addressed.

        And yeah, it wouldn’t be used for petty stuff like whether people disliked a coworker bringing in dogs or complaining that someone microwaves fish or things like that.

      5. EddieSherbert*

        We also have an anonymous ethics hotline, but I believe it’s a phone call with a person where there’s some give and take in conversation (versus like… finding a vague anonymous note you don’t know how to address).

    1. Oxford Coma*

      My company has an anonymous box for issues, and the department VP addresses the entries publicly at semi-annual meetings.

    2. Anonyna*

      I worked at a bar that had one. The owners kept it right over the shredder in the office. Gave us a little chuckle anytime we had to go in there.

      1. Mrs. Fenris*

        Despair.com used to have stickers that said “Employee Suggestion Box.” Fenris got one and put it on the shredder.

    3. Just Peachy*

      My immediate thought was when Michael Scott reads the comments from the anonymous complaint box after years of not touching it. The first card he pulled out said “how do we prepare for Y2K?” This was probably in like, 2010 on the show. :)

      1. C.*

        Meanwhile my first thought was of the Newsradio office where all the comments are people insulting each other (minus the one legitimate complaint from the janitor (“refrigemator so messy; so, so messy.”)

    4. Meißner Porcelain Teapot*

      My office has anonymous complaint and thanks boxes, which are emptied once a week by HR. If it is a thank you note, HR will deliver it to the person being thanked. If it is a complaint, HR will triage to see what needs to be done:

      – Complaint that is easily fixable (e. g. “Policy on how to take vacation days didn’t mention that I need to file it with my manager and not HR – could you please update this?”) gets fixed immediately. If there were multiple complaints for the thing, HR might send a mail around to let people know it’s fixed.

      – Small/one-off complaint that is not easily fixable and/or ridiculous will be ignored (e. g. “My last job let me bring my dog to work. Why can’t you let me bring my dog?” – Note that my company works in an IT-related field with hundreds of pieces of very breakable equipment around at any time).

      – Bigger/multiple complaints that are not easily fixable/ridiculous (e. g. “We need AC on the top floor”, when there is no money in the budget for big remodelling) will prompt a company-wide mail (e. g. “We’ve recently received multiple complaints about the top floor of the office needing AC. We are aware of the issue, but do not have the money to get AC installed for the floor at the moment. We have moved the issue to the top of the maintenance list and will fix it as soon as funds are available. We apologize for the inconvenience.”)

      – Legal issues: these will prompt a company-wide email reminding people that this is NOT what the anonymous box is for and that all legal issues need to be reported in person, directly to HR (employees Jane Doe and John Smith) and will be handled with utmost respect and confidentiality.

    5. LCL*

      Yeah, we don’t use anonymous complaint boxes at big government (TM). If someone has a serious issue like you mentioned we know the places to call, and we can call anonymously. If OPs business is really managing by suggestion box, it will bite them some day. Anonymous suggestion boxes bring out peoples’ worst nature. We did have an anonymous ask a question feature for a brief period of time, it soon degenerated into people asking leading questions designed to trash other groups. I remember it vividly because my group was targeted re: being on premises after hours; we are a 24-7 group and that is our job.

    6. That Would Be a Good Band Name*

      We have one that is supposed to be for questions that can be answered in our weekly newsletter. It’s usually stuff like “when is the next wellness activity going to be planned” or “will flu shots be done on site this year”. You can always tell when someone has put something in it that they won’t/can’t answer because they instead put a reminder in the newsletter about what type of questions they can answer and who they should go to to report various issues (like sexual harassment).

    7. ExcelJedi*

      I’ve seen this in one of the more toxic companies I’ve worked for, but I think it leads to a more, not less, toxic culture. That one was a young, “hip” start-up with plenty of perks like what the letter writer describes.

      In that case, the managers seeking anonymous feedback weren’t interested in solving problems or collaboration, and they thought the anonymous complain box would be an easy way to address problems and improve the office culture. As it turns out, that’s a pretty hard task when no one talks honestly with each other.

    8. Mockingjay*

      We had a Suggestion Box at Ex Toxic Job. Items submitted were read publicly during monthly meetings with all employees, so people tended to limit contributions to only mundane items. Wasn’t useful at all.

      And no, we did not replace the standard water fountain with the suggested model that had a special spout to fit a custom bike water bottle. *insert eyeroll*

    9. Yorick*

      Maybe it’s not really meant to be a complaint box, per se. We have a box that is for “suggestions” or some such.

    10. Pollygrammer*

      My old office had an “anonymous” online form. And a very young, very indiscreet HR assistant who loved dishing on who complained about what.

        1. Pollygrammer*

          I still used it, in a Pollygrammer-we-get-it-you-don’t-like-flavored-coffee-creamer kind of way, but I would never have tried to address any kind of serious policy there.

    11. Triple Anon*

      Some companies have a digital anonymous feedback form where it masks the identity of the sender. I think it’s kind of flawed because usually it doesn’t seem to be 100% anonymous. I mean, if you have to be logged in to a company app or computer to access it (verifying that you work there), then it could be traced back to you. Or your identity might become obvious based on what you’re talking about. And, as people have mentioned, it makes it hard to have a conversation about the issue. There’s also a lot of room for dishonesty and inappropriate use (like complaining about someone because you don’t like them). Although I’m sure there is also some value to it.

  15. cheeky*

    To be honest, I’d be extremely unhappy to work in the same space as a dog- I’m not comfortable around dogs, especially large ones, and I’m also really allergic to pet dander. And if you complain about it, people think you’re a monster who hates dogs. I sympathize with the people who complained- I’m sure they were afraid to bring it up.

    1. Don't Blame Me*

      Yes, I’m so tired of how it seems acceptable to label anyone who dislikes dogs as a monster. There’s a lot to dislike about dogs, and it doesn’t make me a bad person to prefer not to be around one.

      1. stefanielaine*

        Totally. My whole family was extremely allergic to all living things growing up, so we just never had animals around, and (I assume) as a result, I’m dead inside where you’re supposed to love animals. I don’t wish them harm, obviously, but they give me no pleasant feelings either. I’m otherwise a good person, but the awful things people say to me when they find out I don’t like animals or want pets! It’s shocking.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Rhymes With Orange had a quiz for those wondering if they needed another cat, dog, or human infant. Question 1: Are you satisfied with the amount of barf in your life, or do you want more barf?

          (I have cats, dogs, and children, but this list resonates every time one of them barfs.)

    2. Katniss*

      Agreed. I’m also wondering how recently instituted this perk is. I totally empathize with how the OP feels like a major perk was pulled on her. But if I were in an office that instituted a “bring your dogs to work” policy, I’d feel the same way, but on the other end of things: I wouldn’t want to work an office with dogs. I like my friend’s dogs just fine, but I don’t want to be around dogs all day. So it’s likely the coworker also feels like something is being taken from them.

    3. Goya de la Mancha*

      The size issue makes me chuckle (not the fact that you’re uncomfortable!). I personally have always been more uncomfortable with small dogs as far as aggressive behavior. Any nips/bites I have taken that haven’t been by puppies/accidents – all small dogs :( and rabbits…weirdly enough…

      1. Oxford Coma*

        Maybe it’s more of a jumping thing? I’ve known people to be knocked over by untrained large dogs. If your guests are frail or elderly, it can be a serious danger.

        1. kb*

          I’m not afraid of dogs, but am wary of big dogs because when I was a pre-teen a big dog chased me and tackled me to the ground. It ended up not hurting me and just wanting to play, but the experience freaked me out. I have since made friends with some bigger dogs because they are very well-trained and I trust their owners, but I would be skittish around an unfamiliar big dog, esp if the owner wasn’t vigilant about keeping them in line.

        2. Jessi*

          So we have a small dog who isn’t great about jumping. However, she reaches knee level on most people. When she is bad I can pick her up and put her under my arm, away from people.
          One of the mums at school dog jumped up at me and its paws reached my freaking shoulder. You bet I yelped and pushed it off me.

      2. Nope*

        I’ve had the same experience. I love large dogs as long as they aren’t super lucky (spit is gross no matter the species), but small dogs make me very, very nervous until I get to know them.

      3. EddieSherbert*

        Yeah, the nastiest dogs I’ve dealt with in my life have been under 20 lbs. People let them get away with it because they see them as “eternal puppies that aren’t doing any real harm.” (yup, you’re right! If I ALWAYS wear my hiking boots and long pants in their presence, they won’t be able to actually hurt me. Thanks, friend.).

        But, if you’re not familiar/comfortable with dogs, I can totally see how a large dog would be more intimidating than the jerk chihuahua. I loveeee dogs and grew up with several dogs that were close to 150lbs, and I still approach unknown large dogs more cautiously (especially if I have my dog with me – he’s only 35 lbs).

    4. Anon.*

      OP stated that was a perk mentioned the hiring process, so if pet friendly workplaces are not your speed, hopefully during your interview, you would discover that, and decline to move forward. Same as if you discover the job is 75% travel and you don’t want to be away from home that much. It’s a deal breaker, but you don’t get to come in and change the workplace culture as a new hire. (Am I off base here?)

      1. krysb*

        This is exactly where I sit on the issue. If the company makes it known before hiring that it’s a dog-friendly workplace with dogs and you don’t like dogs, prefer not to have dogs at your workplace, or are allergic, why would you accept the job?

    5. Pollygrammer*

      I don’t actually like dogs much myself, and I wouldn’t leap for the opportunity to take a job at a dog-office. That’s not monstrous.

      I think I would feel monstrous if I managed to get a coworker’s really-treasured perk removed for my own personal comfort.

        1. Elspeth*

          LW stated that “They’ve received a couple of complaints that my dog is too large to be allowed in the office, and someone left a note last week saying that they’re afraid of dogs. My manager very kindly asked me to stop bringing her to work.” So the question is, are they allowing other people to continue to bring their smaller dogs to work and just penalizing LW?

          Nothing to do with allergies.

    6. Pineapple Incident*

      Honestly I’m with you on this even though I’m a dog lover. Plenty of people would see this, like lots of other potentially distracting things, as a lot less of a perk and more of something that eats into their day. I would spend forever playing on the floor with someone’s dog, probably annoying them and everyone else and getting nothing done.

      I have self-awareness here I guess. I have a lovely dog who I adore, who is bouncy and fun and loves people, but is loud and can be obnoxious. I would NEVER EVER EVER want her at work; on the limited days that I work from home she is on me about 1/3 of the day, but when I’m not there is perfectly content to sleep all day and does alright with just morning and evening walks.

  16. DCompliance*

    Funny story without advice:
    My husband saw I sign for a toy poodle for sale.
    He was confused and said it is a toy?
    I explained small poodles where called toy poodles. Larger poodles are called standard.
    His response: Is there a deluxe size?

            1. Perse's Mom*

              I dunno, an old coworker of mine had what I would consider a Sub-Par Pyrenees, but that was mostly her fault as she couldn’t be bothered to train him.

      1. Snark*

        Standard implies that there’s a Custom in there too. I’d like a Custom Poodle, purple, with flames.

  17. Snark*

    It’s really high time companies stopped offering this as a perk. It’s just….so fraught, and so easy to abuse, and there’s so many ways for it to go sour and create divisions and bad feeling. And I say that as someone who loves dogs, and loves his dog*. It’s just not a thing that works out, long term. Something always fouls it. If you want to offer cushy perks, offer telework a day or two a week and people can work at home with their dogs.

    *Though, because she’s a hyper little herd dog and has no chill, I would not love having her at work….

    1. MechanicalPencil*

      This is why my days working at home are spent very oddly. There’s the obligatory morning walk, followed by some staring contests in which my dogs are clearly displeased that my laptop is getting more attention than they are. This is settled by a variety of methods that include shifting to the couch and allowing snuggles, which both increases and decreases productivity.

      I feel like herd dogs never have chill. “Must. Herd. Why aren’t you moving THAT way?” I do have fun images now of a border collie trying to move people down a hallway.

      1. Snark*

        Ah yes, the herd dog stare, with the intensity of nine million suns. I swear to god I can feel her staring at me. And then I get the firm nudge with the cold nose. And then I let her out, and she goes and stares at the squirrels until I’m pretty sure they’re just going to zzzzzot-boomf like a fly hitting a mosquito light.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          I was always impressed that our herding dog–who spent many hours unsuccessfully attempting to herd golden retrievers–immediately reasoned “Cats are not sheep” and left them politely alone.

          1. Snark*

            I could see “eh, it’s fluffy and kinda dumb, close enough to scratch the itch” with Golden Retrievers. And I can see the goldy going, wait what im so confused i cant even why are you doing that to my legs

            (Don’t hate, retriever owners, I’ve had four.)

      2. Pineapple Incident*

        Haha my dog stares at me while I work from home too! She is not a herd dog but is a yappy Pom mix who loves attention, and wants to know why I’m paying more attention to work than to her on a pretty constant basis.

    2. AnotherAlison*

      I’m surprised there haven’t been stories here yet of people wanting to bring their teacup pig or pet squirrel to the dog-friendly offices.

      1. Health Insurance Nerd*

        I work with a guy who once found a baby squirrel on his way to the office, brought it INTO THE BUILDING, and was then devastated when he was told that no, he could not keep it in his desk drawer and would have to take it outside.

        1. AnotherAlison*

          Lol. A college teammate of my son’s found a squirrel in the wall of his apartment (?!?!?), and took it in as a pet. . . until the coach found out and told him in no uncertain terms to get rid of it. (Which is what sparked my comment.)

      2. AnotherJill*

        I recently read about a person who wanted to take her “support peacock” on a flight and was denied. I wondered at the time if she worked and took it to work.

          1. K.*

            Me too. What got me is that she had been told three times prior to the flight that she could not bring said peacock, and still showed up with the bird anyway. “You know what

            Peacocks are territorial, aggressive, and they sound like a person screaming. If I walk onto a flight and I see a peacock strutting around, I am OUT.

            1. Perse's Mom*

              I’d read that she’s a ‘performance artist,’ so it may well have been an intentional stunt to drum up attention.

    3. Lora*

      Agree. I adore my giant slobber-and-fur factory, and I’ve had dogs that would have been perfect office dogs (speed bumps that occasionally enjoy pats and tummy rubs), but I have enough friends who tell me that while they are delighted to have me over to their home, or meet me somewhere for events, they will never set foot in my house because dog.

      One of my dear friends who is a wonderful person and a most excellent CAD wizard, is terrified of kittens and baby farm animals and of course dogs of all sizes. I love her to pieces, but she cannot deal with anything more substantial than a goldfish when it comes to critters. I have a great many colleagues who are city people born and raised, who went through their entire childhood and part of adulthood never interacting with a dog beyond the occasional seeing one on the street, and colleagues from countries where pet dogs are not a thing and feral dogs biting you ARE a thing, and they would all be deeply uncomfortable with a dog in the building.

      The other crummy thing here is, this perk didn’t cost the office any money – for that reason, I’m not sure you can ask them, “hey, if I have to check my dog into day care now, can you at least comp me for it?” It’s not as if they had a professional dog sitter coming by and now they no longer have to pay and they have money freed up in the budget.

      Cultural note for people outside the US: we are weird about dogs. They might as well be human children to us. We spend inordinate amounts of money on special food and toys and outfits for them and have entire stores dedicated to different kinds of foods and fencing and collars and leashes and treats and tuna-flavored toothpaste and vitamin supplements and special doggy backpacks so they can go hiking and camping with us and shampoo and flea treatments and holy smokes whenever I have friends or in-laws visiting they marvel at our giant Petsmart and Petco buildings full of stuff. We have all kinds of advanced training on rally obedience and working dog competitions and therapy dogs and whatnot, and most people give their dog some basic training. This isn’t *quite* as bad as being told, “you may no longer bring your child to our gratis on site day care,” but it’s pretty close.

      1. Kelly*

        That’s a great point about the US and pets. My dad’s dog is very dear to my dad, just as my late mother thoroughly indulged him.

        Both my sister and I call the dog my dad’s favorite child. We both think it’s telling that he’ll take time off work to take the dog to one of his allergists when he was very reluctant to take any time off when we were kids to take us to doctor appointment. That was mom’s job, and she also worked full time. The dog has a second allergist and a primary care vet, where he spends at least $100 on medication for the dog. He spends at least $200 a month on specialty dog food and treats because the dog is allergic to any food that has meat as an ingredient. Last Christmas, he bought the dog an orthopedic dog couch from LL Bean, that the dog shares with a couple of the cats. My dad’s from a family that loves animals, and some of them thought he was crazy for spending over $200 on a Xmas gift for the dog.

        The dog’s now a very senior dog whose breed expectancy is 12 to 14 years. He’s planning on getting a puppy after the big boy goes because he doesn’t know what he’ll do without a dog around. He likes the cats but is more of a dog person.

    4. JB (not in Houston)*

      I kind of agree. It would be nice, though, if in exchange companies that could afford it had a doggy daycare, like some places have on-site childcare. I realize that would probably never happen for all kinds of cost and logistical reasons, but if it could work it would give people a chance to see their dogs during the day and allow them to not leave them at home, while still keeping the work areas dog-free.

      1. Snark*

        I could maybe see it working with negotiating a discounted group rate with a local kennel or something.

        1. JB (not in Houston)*

          Oh, that’s a good idea. Not as ideal as something on-site, but still better than leaving the dogs at home (if that worries you) or employees paying for dog walkers out of pocket.

    5. bb-great*

      Yes, this. I just see so many pitfalls with this that it surprises me that companies do it. Who’s going to decide and enforce what constitutes good enough behavior? What happens if the company wants to hire someone who happens to be allergic or phobic? How are people going to react if this perk gets revoked? I just find it hard to believe that, on an organizational level, the benefit outweighs the potential cost.

      1. Snark*

        One might ask why they didn’t……..

        ( •_•)>⌐□-□


        Let that sleeping dog lie.


    6. Tuesday Next*

      I wouldn’t be excited to work in a dog friendly office, but I hardly think you can tell companies to stop doing it.

    7. Jesmlet*

      Eh, I don’t really have a problem with companies choosing to offer perks that they want to offer, as long as those “perks” are clearly disclosed in the hiring process. I’d avoid offices with a weekly Friday happy hour like the plague, but a dog friendly office would be great for me. To each their own.

      1. Snark*

        Like I said, though, emotions around dogs and other pets in the workplace run sufficiently deep that I think this issue is particularly fraught – it’s not just another variety of perk, it seems to cause unique levels of drama when it’s misused or there’s complaints.

        1. Kimberlee, Esq.*

          Eh, there’s always the potential for drama and complaints and misuse of various policies. That’s what management is for (specifically, managers managing problems on their teams). I don’t think something needs to work in every office or with every culture to be worthwhile for some offices or some cultures.

    8. Pathfinder Ryder*

      It can also stifle diversity – a company could be missing out on a great Muslim employee who doesn’t want to deal with having to change their clothes before prayers because Fido came into their office.

  18. Penny Lane*

    I think it would be insightful to think about the person(s) on the other end posting to AAM about this:

    Dear Alison,
    I have a great job blah blah blah, but there is a new employee who took it upon herself to ask management if she could bring in her standard poodle to work. They were so taken aback that they said yes, and now she brings the poodle in. Don’t get me wrong, the dog is generally reasonably well-behaved, but there’s still a dog smell and some occasional barking and commotion and the dog is more disruptive than the owner thinks it is. Several of us in the office have discussed this — we have complained anonymously. In fact, my one office mate is very afraid of dogs due to an incident in which blah blah blah and it’s a real issue for her to see this dog so up close and personal every day. No one wants to be the jerk who tells Ms. Poodle that she can’t bring her dog in, but frankly we thought it was kind of nervy for a relative newcomer to impose a dog in the workplace in the first place. Some of us who object to the dog being in the workplace love dogs and have dogs ourselves — at home, where they belong. How would you handle this?

    1. Murphy*

      It doesn’t sound like OP “took it upon herself” though. It sounds like the office was described as dog-friendly and the double-checked that her dog was ok.

      I checked to make sure it was okay to bring her — dog-friendly doesn’t necessarily mean large-dog-friendly — and management said as long as she was well behaved, it would be fine.

      1. Anonymouish*

        This! I don’t think anyone, no matter how much they love dogs, just decides they’ll make this a request — dog-friendly offices usually happen from the top down because someone in the C-suite wants to bring *their* dog.

        1. KayEss*

          And the C-suite’s dog is NEVER well-behaved.

          I worked in small business hell for a year at a place that did not in any way advertise itself as dog-friendly–but the owner brought her unwashed, ill-trained, large-and-small dog pair in whenever she felt like it. The small one would cry incessantly if the owner was in the (small) conference room with the door closed, so my (thankfully fairly mild) allergies and I got to have 90-minute meetings in an enclosed space with someone holding a wriggling dog in her arms. It also had a habit of peeing on the carpet in a particular employee’s office, and the owner would laugh when the employee got annoyed at having to clean it up. The large one was better behaved, but still unwashed and left a veritable wake of stench as it moseyed through the space.

          I grant that the owner in that case was demonstrably a narcissist nightmare outlier, as she was also the center of a whole host of other office dysfunctions, but that put me off “dog-friendly” workplaces pretty much for life.