estate planning lawyers

Pets In The Workplace

There are many studies which show the value of pets (primarily dogs and cats) in the workplace. They create a serenity and a friendliness which often can be lacking. For a number of years, I wanted to have a dog to bring with me to work. In 2011 I left a law firm and opened my own practice. A large part of my practice was Social Security disability. Many of my clients were very distressed, upset, and nervous, as a result of their condition or from the stress of the disability process; often it was both. I believed a dog could relieve some of that stress.

Although most of my previous dogs were bigger dogs, I decided to get a small, hypo-allergenic dog for the office. After searching online, my wife found a bichon-poodle mix at our local animal shelter. I met her and took her for a walk (the Dog Whisperer says that you get to know a dog best on a walk). It took about five minutes for me to know this was my dog.

I planned to take as much time as necessary to train her to behave well in an office. However, the day after I got her, I took her to a very crowded barn sale. She walked beside me quietly, curiously sniffing those around us, but not making any fuss. When I stopped to talk to someone, she would lay down quietly beside me. I took her to work that Monday, and she has been coming with me ever since.

When I would meet with my clients, Phoebe would come to the door of my office and greet them. She likes to sniff people and get petted, but once she meets and greets you, she goes off and lays down – people often forget she is there. Many people have commented that she relaxed or de-stressed them. One woman had a severe fear of leaving her house; it took her two weeks to get up the courage to come to see me. Phoebe greeted her enthusiastically and jumped on her lap as soon as she sat down, and stayed there for our entire 90 meeting. As she was leaving, the woman said that was the best and calmest she had felt in three years.

Phoebe doesn’t get to interact with clients that much anymore, though she is always happy to be where the action is. In the past seven years, she has slowed down and her hearing is getting bad (just like me), but she continues to greet those who come into the office enthusiastically, and she never has a bad day. To this day, clients ask where she is and how she is doing, and often request that she come into our meeting, which she is always happy to do. I call her my Director of Public Relations. She is living proof of the benefit of having pets at work.    

Bill Poole

Grandparenting – Part 2

In a previous blog, I talked about my one grandson. Today, I want to introduce my second grandson, who turned 1 in October. Unfortunately, he and his father (the college student about whom I have blogged) and mother live in Philadelphia, and they and we have very busy careers, so we don’t get to see him nearly as often as we would like. We call him Johnny Meatballs.

The official story is that he got his name because of his chubby cheeks, and he needs a name that gives him street cred. After all, he does live in Philly. That’s not the entirely true story behind his name, but you’ll not get it out of me, no matter what you try!

He is a delight. We have hardly ever seen him grumpy. He is always smiling and laughing. He just started walking a few weeks ago but is now a walking terror. He loves to play hide and seek, which is him hiding alongside the couch, crouching down, and then springing up, laughing and giggling. He loves being read to. I will read to him, or hold a book and make up a story. He is delighted either way (but I think my stories are way better the ones in the books).

Like his parents, he loves the beach, though he hasn’t yet learned that sand is not one of the food groups. He is a big Eagles fan – he must be because his wardrobe and toys lean heavily to the Eagles.

On game day, he always has something Eagles on. Being an Eagles fan of 58 years, since I was 10, my secret hope is that he will not have to wait another 58 years to celebrate a Super Bowl win. My son, being young and optimistic, is certain that they are on their way any time soon to another championship; I fear that I, who had 58 years to suffer, despite my best efforts and intentions, remain a pessimist.

My son: They’re looking good today.

Me: I wonder how they’re going to blow it this time.

Still, they delivered for us this past year and made me happy, so, for the sake of Johnny Meatballs, I’m going to keep rooting and (try to) stay optimistic, for his sake. Go Johnny go!

Bill Poole

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