Recently, we took our unique office mentality with allowing pets in the office to a whole new level. One of our employees brought in his pet pig, Truffles, for a visit. Suffice it to say, this impromptu meet-and-greet was a morale and productivity booster for the entire office.
Dogs have a regular presence at SupplyHouse.com, making appearances on not only our local delivery trucks in New Jersey, but also have their own pictures and bios on our company website. Yet, when Steve Erickson wanted to bring in Truffles, that was somewhat of uncharted territory. While dogs tend to be the norm around the office, Erickson was eager to bring in his now 24 pound pet pig. “I really enjoyed seeing everyone bring their dogs in the office,” said Steve. “Once I got Truffles, I thought it would be so much fun to introduce my new pet to my coworkers. Plus, it was right around the same time as the Chinese New Year, and it just so happens to be the year of the pig. The timing was perfect,” he went on.
Julie in Human Resources remembers when Steve first brought up the possibility of bringing a pig into the office. Previously, only dogs had been written into the company’s pet policy. When asked about the reason why they started allowing pets into the office, she said, “We implemented our pet policy about 3 years ago now and while I can’t speak for everyone I do strongly believe that it has had a really positive impact on employee morale. It’s hard to be upset or stressed when one of our four-legged friends is frolicking around the office. Even the jingle of their tags somehow seems to lighten the atmosphere.” A pig is quite different than a dog, though. But to Julie, that made no difference. “Wow!” she thought. “Another species to add to the SupplyHouse family. I was a little nervous because dogs have been the only four-legged friends to join us at the office up until now, but they bring so much joy and I knew a pig would do the same.”
With the go-ahead from HR, Steve was all ready to show off Truffles. “It felt like when Ed Sullivan introduced The Beatles; everyone was so excited. There was a build-up for a few days of everybody asking when I would bring her in. I imagine there’s not a lot of work places that would have let that happen,” Steve remembers. Truffles made a guest appearance at our office for around an hour during lunch time, and she was the highlight of everyone’s afternoon. Energetic, funny, and friendly, she would roam about and nuzzle against people’s hands, begging to be fed Cheerios. According to Steve, “it was the largest crowd of people she has been around by far, and she was very comfortable and happy; she was also a fan of the water bowl at the bottom of the water cooler in the kitchen.”
Having a pet pig is like having a dog in a lot of ways, according to Steve. “They are hypoallergenic for one, but personally she has been very fun; she likes to play but is also great to snuggle with on cold days and loves taking naps.” And she is also smarter with training than most dogs, apparently. Truffles’ visit sparked a lot of morale and team building. Everybody was laughing and smiling, wanting to pet Truffles and feed her. Her visit was perfectly in line with the company culture.
When asked what one of the most unexpected things about having a pet pig is, Steve had the perfect answer lined up: “she has a sense of humor. When I catch her pushing my bathroom garbage down the hallway or when she’s hiding under my bed and pops her nose out, she looks at me and laughs because she knows she’s being funny.” I’m sure this makes all of us wish our offices were pet friendly—or that we should get a pet pig ourselves!
Now both dogs and pigs alike are welcome to come to the office, whether it’s for a few hours or the whole day. Julie really loves the company’s pet policy: “On a personal note, I love the fact that my dog is able to come to work with me. I am able to spend more time with him, he gets to socialize with my colleagues, and he exerts so much energy that he spends the rest of the night asleep—win, win, win!”