Amazon loves dogs. Just ask one of the 6,000 pooches that ‘work’ there.
On a typical day at Amazon HQ in Seattle, employees share their space with as many as 6,000 of their four-legged friends. Every day is bring your dog to work day, a longstanding tradition at the e-commerce company.
“Having dogs in our workplace is an amazing treat. They make employees smile, and we’re proud this is such a uniquely Amazonian tradition. It’s truly ingrained in our company culture,” explains Lara Hirschfield, Amazon’s “Woof Pack” Manager. “Our employees love bringing their dogs to work and love meeting their coworkers’ dogs.”
According to a company blog post, the tradition started with a dog named Rufus. In the early days of Amazon.com, a husband and wife team brought Rufus, their Welsh corgi, to work with them, and he became a surprisingly productive part of the team. Employees would symbolically use Rufus’ paw to click the computer mouse to launch some of the earliest pages of Amazon.com.
Although Rufus has long since crossed the Rainbow Bridge, his contributions and presence during the early days are not forgotten. There are photos of him around campus, and there’s even an Amazon building in South Lake Union that was named after the beloved Corgi.
On a typical day, thousands of dogs follow in Rufus’ paw steps. If you land on an Amazon 404 page, you’ll be introduced to some of the dogs that come to work with their owners regularly.
And office perks aren’t just for employees- the pooches get them too. Reception desks in every office building are a must-stop spot to snag dog treats. A building on the Amazon campus has a doggie deck—complete with a fake fire hydrant—where dogs can run around. The neighborhood has no shortage of poop bag stations, designated dog relief areas, and dog-friendly water fountains. Amazon has also opened a community off-leash dog park in the Denny Triangle neighborhood for employees and dogs in the community to enjoy – it features rocks and other structures for dogs to play on.
Amazon also sponsors dog-related events for employees throughout the year.
It’s no secret that having dogs at your office is good for morale; it’s also a known stress-buster. And according to the Amazon company blog post, the benefits don’t stop there. The dog-friendly policy also contributes to the company’s culture of collaboration. As Hirschfield notes, “Dogs in the workplace is an unexpected mechanism for connection. I see Amazonians meeting each other in our lobbies or elevators every day because of their dogs.”