Saturday, May 29, 2010

Here's One Company That Takes Pride In Having Dogs In Their Work Place

Silverado Senior Living 'Chief Pet Officer' Proves Dogs are Execs' Best Colleague

From the early stages of planning his company 15 years ago to now, with his organization employing over 2,000 people in four states, Silverado Senior Living President, CEO and Board Chairman Loren Shook has had a constant partner at his side. While trusted partnerships are important in business, this one is a little different. Shook's close colleague has been his Labrador retriever Candy. She accompanied the chief executive to meetings with private equity firms in Los Angles skyscrapers in those initial days and has reported to the corporate headquarters with him since Silverado opened for business. Of course, Candy is expected to come to the office on Take Your Dog to Work Day, June 25.

Involving Candy in Silverado Senior Living "just seemed like the natural thing to do," said Shook, who believes that America's customary ban on dogs and other animals in the workplace "is a misunderstanding of the value of pets and what they can do for us. Pets reduce stress, help promote interaction between co-workers, and can be ice-breakers that help people start talking."

Candy has been given the title of "chief pet officer" and it's more than just a cute moniker. Silverado believes the presence of animals benefits the memory-impaired in its care as well as its employees, providing them with stress reduction, loving companionship, and the sense of reward that comes of helping care for them. For this reason, Silverado mandates that its memory-care communities adopt dogs and other pets to reside on the premises and be part of daily life. Like Candy, Silverado's pets are rescues, adopted from shelters, rescue organizations, and individuals unable to care for them.

Residents are also encouraged to bring their pets to live with them at Silverado, which takes responsibility for the animals' care even if their owners no longer reside at its communities. Silverado staff is asked to bring their animals to the workplace, too.

"Having dogs, cats, and other pets at Silverado for more than a decade has been incredibly positive for those in our care, our associates, and our whole company," Shook said. "I would encourage other businesses to consider inviting pets into their workplaces, too. Of course, there need to be rules; animals must be well-behaved and groomed and they can't be a distraction that keeps people from getting their work done. But at Silverado, we've shown it can be done successfully and that the benefits are tremendous."

Silverado Senior Living offers assisted living care for those with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of memory impairment as well as home care, care management, and hospice care through its Silverado At Home and Silverado Hospice service lines. Silverado is based in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. and operates in 34 locations across California, Texas, Utah, and Arizona. Visit for more information.


Anonymous said...

I am a former nursing home resident and in the four years I lived there, we had an enlightened administrator who loved animals and felt their presence in the nursing home would benefit the residents. Fortunately, her bosses agreed with her and let her adopt several dogs, birds and smaller animals. I was primary caretaker for some of the dogs and they definitely brightened up the lives of the other residents.

Unfortunately, the present administrator has a completely different attitude towards animals. He decreed that all the animals had to go so now even the little creatures that were in the children's ward have been given away.

Dogman2 said...

It's sad when someone new comes in and thinks they know best. Yes it is unfortunately that the people are unable to have a pet come and see them or be by their side for support.