Seattle-based Amazon.com has a long history of welcoming four-legged friends into the office. A current Amazonian tells KIRO Radio’s “It’s Raining Cats and Dogs” that it all began with a Corgi named Rufus, the company’s first office dog compatriot.
Rufus was with the company for many years, and at least by lore is credited with paw clicks of the mouse that launched big sections of the Amazon.com we know today. Rufus died in 2009 but there is still evidence of his legacy around the company, says Amazon Corporate Communications Manager Ty Rogers.
“Rufus lives on at Amazon in many different ways,” says Rogers. “His name is stamped on a lot of the door handles of the offices. He has his own help page on the website […] He actually now has a building named after him.”
Raining Cats and Dogs host Shawn Stewart asked Rogers just what’s in it for pets, lugging their leashes into the workplace everyday.
Rogers says there are lots of pet perks.
“There are dog biscuits at all the reception desks, so when you bring your dog in you can grab a treat for them on their way in, and there [are] dog-friendly drinking fountains on campus as well. So where there will be a human-sized drinking fountain down on the ground there will be a dog drinking fountain.”
The dogs get to tag along with their best friends at work, and meet new friends at the office. Rogers says there are dogs in all shapes and sizes around Amazon.
“Everything from little Chihuahuas to big Great Danes and everything in between,” he says. “Some of our floors can feel a little bit like a dog park at times. There’s lots of dogs running around and playing with each other.”
But he says the owners are typically pretty responsible, and respectful that they are in a work environment.
“We ask that people use common sense with their dogs,” says Rogers. “Obviously if your dog is aggressive at all or anything like that it’s probably not a good idea to bring them to work. People are good about bringing the right dogs to work and being responsible with them when they’re at work, keeping them on a leash as needed.”
The company has a list of guidelines for their employees that want to bring their furry friend to work. The final listing in the guidelines reminds Amazonians that bringing dogs to work is a privilege – one that seems to be working out well for dog owners at Amazon – but one that shouldn’t be confused with a right.