So how does this work? Are dogs running around the building?
My dog stays in my office, and we have cubicles at HSUS so a dog will stay right next to a person at their desk. We have little signs with the colors green, yellow and red. Green means the dog is really friendly, loves interaction and you don't need to worry. Yellow is pay attention to how you approach. And red means the dog may be very nervous or skittish or may have some other reason that you want to be more cautious in dealing with him or her.
Then there's a "three strikes and you're out" policy. Pet owners and their pets have responsibilities, and they can't be involved in more than three incidents, like the release of fluids or solids, or if they're barking in a way that's disruptive in the workplace. We have a committee that looks at these issues and sets the rules. The rules have to be followed for this to work, but it's amazing so many of the animals know what's expected of them and you hardly notice there are so many animals in the workplace. I mean, you notice when someone goes out for a walk so the dog can tinkle, but oftentimes you walk right by and you don't see or hear the animal.
How can pet-friendly workplaces maintain a healthy workspace for employees who are allergic?
The HSUS published a book titled "Dogs at Work: A Practical Guide to Creating Dog-Friendly Workplaces" that recommends having a formal policy to address issues such as allergies. Public areas such as conference and break rooms can be dog-free, and most employees value this work benefit enough to be considerate of officemates who are allergic to or fearful of dogs. If an employee is highly allergic, it's not practical for someone sitting in the next cubicle to have a dog. But it may be possible to reorganize workspaces.
How can someone tell if he or she is suited to work for a nonprofit?
Anyone who wants to make a difference in the world and is prepared to work hard can thrive with the right nonprofit organization. You won't get rich, but you can have an impact, and with some organizations like The HSUS, you can help drive transformational change. As in any career, a solid education and skills in a particular field are essential for success at a nonprofit organization. It also helps to be well-rounded in your interests and have a firm understanding of how change comes about, both for individuals or in society.
What's the best career advice you've ever received?
One of my former board members said, "Don't try to do everything because that's an impossible task, and no one will notice anything that you do because you're spread too thin." So he said to concentrate on a few big things, make an impact and people will notice that impact.
Editor's Note: Around the Water Cooler is an ongoing series, in which U.S. News talks with company executives to get their career advice for employees and managers.