We are huge advocates for bringing pets to work. So, it should be no surprise that our Trupanion headquarters is filled with dogs. More than 300 of them, in fact! With so many pups in the office, a dog walker program is crucial to our company programming and culture. We are forever grateful for our incredible team who braves the Seattle elements (rain, lots of rain) to make sure our pets get the care they need and keep the rest of us available to take your calls, process claims and do the work we do to keep pets covered. In honor of National Dog Walker Appreciation Day, we celebrate our dog walking program and give you a glimpse of what it takes to manage all those dogs!
A behind-the-scenes look at Trupanion’s Dog Walking Program
A Trupanion dog walker’s schedule is on-the-go from the moment they clock-in. They are booked up with meetings throughout the day, but not the typical type of meeting one might expect in an office setting. “Every time a meeting pops up on the dog-walkers schedule, it is actually a dog walk with a pup around the office,” states J. Marmol, Pet Program Manager. “The walkers can literally plan their routes around which dogs their picking up first, second, or last. They know every dog in the office,” chuckles J.
Dog Walking & Tech
Similarly, the cross scheduling has made it easier to see who is walking and who is being picked up. “The use of outlook email for scheduling our walks has been so much easier! It is an easier process for the team members, has increased online traffic for booking dog walks, and can even book-out in advance,” states J. Also, detailed notations can be placed in the email about the location of pickup, preferred time, or an allergy to any treats. “In contrast, when we started the dog walking program, it was a giant map on the wall with handwritten names for dogs and name magnets for the dog walkers. Now there is no confusion on who is picking up the pup, making it convenient for all our team members, “ states J.
How to Staff the Perfect Dog Walker
When you think hiring the perfect candidate you might think it is easy. Everyone loves dogs, right? Rather all candidates must love walking dogs! Walking dogs all day, every day is a rigorous and strenuous job that requires stamina and time management skills. Also, “the dog walker role must be reliable, honest, and an excellent time manager. You’re essentially your own boss and leader for all the pups in the office. We keep the position part-time to avoid burn out, for the reason that dog walkers typically walk 30-60 pups a day. Currently, we have three part-time walkers on staff,” says J. Team member happiness is critical. “We want everyone to have fun. For the reason that the dog is happy, our walkers are happy, and the pet owner is enjoying the perk. It reduces work environment stress,” says J.
The Dog Walker Uniform
Every dog walker has a “uniform”. We ask that all walkers are 100% comfortable as they will be walking in all weather conditions. The uniform requirements do include a belt for leashes, doggy bags, treats, and pepper spray if there is ever a safety concern in the area. “We have cut down on walks due to weather or other conditions. The safety of the walker and office pet is our #1 priority,” says J.
How to implement a Dog Walking Program in your Workplace
The key elements to consider when implementing a dog walking program are staffing, scheduling, and safety. “You need to make sure you have adequate staff, a cohesive way to schedule walks, and provide safe walking conditions,” states J. First of all, a good way to find out if your company would benefit a dog-walking program would be to conduct a survey and reach out to your benefits department. Other key factors to consider: rules for your workplace with pets and the routes that pets can or can’t navigate in your building. “I’ve found more doors that I realized that went somewhere when I’ve been walking dog routes. I started as a dog walker,” chuckles J.
Benefits of the Dog Walker Program
The benefits of the dog walker program are great for everyone involved. For the reason that the program provides regular opportunities for our dogs to get out, get active, and take regular bathroom breaks. “Also, it is a wonderful socialization component for the furry companions. They are able to be at work with their owners, walk with the dog walkers once a day, and have a puppy playdate in one of our playrooms,” states J. It provides balance emotionally, mentally, and physically for the pups. Not to mention it keeps puppy parents happy and efficient at their jobs.
A Leader of the Pack
As we look to the future of our dog walking program, we look for a way to push boundaries with training. “Our dog walkers are independent and honest leaders. They have the ability to teach and lead in regards to pet behavior,” states J. In the future, as a team we look to provide more training opportunities and customize our 1-on-1 time to meet the dog’s specific needs. We would like to personalize each owner/pet training regime, with weekly, monthly, or quarterly training opportunities and classes.
The dog walker program at Trupanion has provided versatile work-life balance for our team members and their pets. “The dog walkers are the face of our program, we couldn’t do this without them,” states J.
We salute our hard-working dog walker team members. Thank you for providing the best care and amazing attention to our dogs in the office.