I like having a dog at our office. Our office dog is Carl, a yellow lab that lives with Jason.
Carl has changed the tone of the office. We are pretty relaxed, but hard working. When Jason proposed that he bring Carl in, part of me imagined that we would spend our time playing with the dog, not working. Instead he spends the day under Jason's desk and periodically trots around the office to check in with all of us. I don't see a drop in production; I see a rise in collegiality and happiness which contributes to our productivity.
The vibe in our office changed along with Carl's arrival. The staff started talking to each other (even) more. Jason talks to Carl and the dog listens. Is it his tone of voice; is it his hand motions, or does he just understand?
Carl makes me see the office in a different way. If we can have a dog here all day, why not a woodshop, why not more employees with even more diverse backgrounds? Will we be the better for it? This is playing... we are putting experiences together in an unusual way (like dogs in the office) and standing back to see what happens. This experience leaves us looking at the world with a slightly different point of view.
Having someone around that is always friendly and licks you is a wonderful distraction. Reaching down to pet Carl and scratch his ears is like taking a tiny vacation. Then I go back to work feeling a tiny bit more relaxed and productive.