Dogs, people say, have a mental awareness similar to that of a four year old child. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his first symphony at age 8. When one considers those two facts and makes certain allowances for the extremes involved in the latter, one has to come to the conclusion that dogs do have an appreciation of music.
Excellent then that Laurie Anderson, the artist, musician and widow of the late Lou Reed, last night held a concert in the middle of New York’s Times Square devoted entirely to dogs. Anderson performed music at a low frequency that could be barely heard by any humans present, but was perfect for discerning doggy ears.
Many of the hounds present responded to the music with barks. No applause was reported. “Well, she hasn’t bolted yet, so I guess she’s excited,” Gabrielle Esperdy told the Guardian, speaking of her dog Kebo.
“Kebo usually listens to cool jazz,” Esperdy continued. “I would say she’s a cool jazz aficionado.”
As well as taking dogs to concerts, more and more employees are now able to take their dogs to the office. 20 percent of companies in the United States now operate pet-friendly policies and there are a rising number of UK companies that are following a similar path.
The benefits of doing so are varied. Bringing pets to work betters work/life balance for employees as they are not worrying how their pets are faring at home. Dogs are also a social catalyst, they provoke conversation wherever they go and are likely to increase the likelihood of distant co-workers striking up a conversation.
A 2012 Virginia Commonwealth University study also showed that employees who bring dogs to work produced lower levels of cortisol, the hormone released during times of stress. Lower stress levels improve employee health, while increasing productivity and boosting creativity.
There is of course the argument that pets could prove to be a distraction in the workplace, but if dogs are able to appreciate the music of Laurie Anderson, then they certainly are able to behave in the office.