The Benefits of Office Pets, Told in GIFs

March 16, 2018 | Stephen Jackson

I was sitting idle the other day, and when this happens, I’m known to be of a wandering mind. One benefit of this propensity for daydreaming is the amount of random stuff I learn. Once, while procrastinating instead of writing a piece for Seed, I stumbled upon the origin of the word “freelancer,” and spun it into an entire post about the gig economy.

This time, I was not so lucky. However, while looking up the origin of the superstition that a bird flying into one’s house is a bad omen (supposed to be a harbinger of death, NBD), I began to do some other animal-related research and decided to put together a helpful little guide.

So, without further adieu, we give you: “The Definitive Guide to Business-Related Pet Ownership (As Told in GIFs).”

Reaching? Maybe. But man, what a ride.


According to Snopes, the superstition that a bird flying into your house is bad luck traces its origins, like most myths, back to a time where we just had less ways to explain why stuff happened. Apparently a hen deciding to crow is equally bad luck. You be the judge.

From a business standpoint, you might want to avoid keeping a bird with clipped wings as a shop mascot. Although keeping a pet of any kind results in some form of captivity, a shrieking bird with clipped wings sitting in the show room (or the marketing department) doesn’t exactly say, “sky’s the limit, folks.”


While there are many options when it comes to GIF-based dog memes on the internet, this floating, flapping, disembodied head of a stoic basset hound bounding through a field was simply too captivating for me to leave behind.

As far as dogs and work go, there are definitely many arguments both for and against bringing your dog to work. But if you work from home — as I have from time to time as a freelancer — I’m pretty sure it’s a slam dunk all around. The dog is pumped. You have a companion. There are multiple excuses to get outside and get fresh air. I have a dog, and when I’ve done long solo stints in the home office he’s been a resoundingly positive influence on my overall happiness (this is a proven effect. And after all, we all do better work when we’re feeling good


First of all, I should note that the Google search term “pigs at work,” yields nothing but YouTube clips of Angry Birds cartoons. So, either kudos are in order to that program’s SEO guy, or bringing a pig to work or using one as a business mascot (unless you’re selling bacon) is simply not done. But dang, did you see the baby pig railslide that doberman up there? This is prime time stuff, people.

Moving on …


Sigh. I love animals, and I don’t particularly dislike cats, but I am not sure I “get” the idea of cats. In fact, I believe that small dogs effectively render cat ownership obsolete.

That said, having a shop cat can be great addition to a brick-and-mortar operation. Also, if you have any kind of rodent problem at your home or place of business, then cats are certainly a way to go. In fact, there appears to be a free service in London that allows you to temporarily foster a cat for free in order to zap your mouse problem. It would follow that this could be transposed into a for-profit venture stateside …

There are other reports out there extolling the benefits of owning a cat, and if you’re interested, I’d rather just point you here.


You basically can’t raise a raccoon domestically. Which is too bad, because think of how interesting lunchtime would get.

Tropical Fish

If your small business is selling stolen goods in the late ‘90s or seafood in the suburbs, then go ahead and get some tropical fish — it will totally go with your whole vibe. Short of that, getting into raising tropical fish could be a dicey decision. Mortality rates are high, which employees don’t like to be reminded of. But, like literally anything, there are apparent health benefits to keeping fish in your house — they might be good for depression, Alzheimer’s, and some other stuff. So it might be a good idea. If only you could train raccoons to feed them.