These Mexico City Workplaces’ Latest Hires? Pets

In the bustling capital, where many workers suffer from burnout, stress-relieving cats and dogs are clocking in.

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These Mexico City Workplaces’ Latest Hires? Pets

Mar García, GPJ Mexico

Margó, a rescued dog, stands in front of the desk of then-content director Lily Caballero at the offices of Juguetes Mi Alegría, a toy company in Mexico City.

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO — Margó begins her workday sporting a company uniform and badge. Among her duties are walking among the desks, wagging her tail, playing and taking naps. And on special days, she dons her lab coat and participates in an activity that so many children dream of: toy testing. Margó makes frequent appearances on social media.

Margó, a dog who was rescued by Ángel Algara, marketing manager at toy company Juguetes Mi Alegría, joined the team in early 2023. Ever since, her six teammates have safeguarded her well-being and enjoyed her company, which has improved their working environment.

“Caring for her has brought us closer together. She’s raised our spirits. It’s easier to work while petting a little dog. Whenever I have too many things on my plate, I’m with her. I pet her, we go out for a walk, and the day gets so much better,” Algara says.

In various public and private workplaces in Mexico City, workers are adopting company pets to provide the animals with new lives. But doing so has also resulted in more cohesive team relationships and lower stress levels. In some places, the presence of these pets is generating more commitment and changing how people relate to their jobs.

“Caring for her has brought us closer together. She’s raised our spirits. It’s easier to work while petting a little dog.”Juguetes Mi Alegría

Viridiana Frías, a specialist and technician in animal-assisted interventions, says the presence of a company pet in the work environment has mental health benefits. “Research shows that cortisol levels are impacted and, in any situation, the stress that is generated there is reduced.”

Animal-assisted interventions are forms of treatment in which nonhuman species help provide support during therapy for neurological, psychological and psychiatric conditions, among others. Frías, who is currently training a dog to be an assistant in speech-language therapies, says that pets and humans sharing their lives with each other creates a bond that “allows for a reduction in stress, feelings of loneliness [and] anxiety.”

At Juguetes Mi Alegría, where Margó works, the human resources department has noticed the benefits.

Mar García, GPJ Mexico

Studies show that pets can reduce employees’ anxiety and improve their well-being.

“Most people [on the team] have pets. So, it’s like a reminder of what they have at home,” says Erika Cerón, the department’s manager. She believes the personnel’s commitment has improved. “I think they really feel better with her here.”

In Mexico, 75% of the population experiences fatigue resulting from work-related stress, a reduction in well-being due to their working conditions, according to the Mexican Institute of Social Security, the country’s foremost institution for health care and social protection. In this context, the presence of pets in the workplace can improve the mental health of even those employed in the most stressful occupations.

Members of the Xochimilco Fire Station, part of Mexico City’s Fire Department, are noticing how the arrival of Horda, a pregnant dog they found tied up on their premises several months ago, has enabled them to strengthen their sense of well-being.

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Mar García, GPJ Mexico

Iber Farfán Ruiz, a noncommissioned officer at the fire department, bathes Horda, a rescue dog who now lives at the Xochimilco Fire Station in Mexico City.

“It serves as therapy for us, so we can be at ease with everyone. Petting her and playing with her takes your stress away,” says Iber Farfán Ruiz, a noncommissioned officer at the fire department. He is in charge of caring for Horda and walking her.

Due to the nature of their work, firefighters have high rates of anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, making it necessary to develop strategies to maintain their emotional balance. Frías says sharing activities with animals, like feeding them or taking them to the veterinarian, is beneficial.

“The body unconsciously forms links with positive stimuli, like petting the animal or being in its company,” she says.

Horda “has become part of the team. Everyone cares for her, and they have a lot of fun with her without neglecting their work,” says Edmundo Flores Pérez, fire station chief and inspector.

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Mar García, GPJ Mexico

In highly stressful jobs, the presence of pets helps with emotional balance and reinforces bonds between team members.

The benefits of pets in the workplace have attracted the attention of legislators in Mexico City. In April 2023, local deputy Nazario Norberto Sánchez introduced an initiative in the city’s Congress to promote pet-friendly offices.

“The participation of pets in the working lives of workers would play a significant role in achieving a better quality of life, proper job performance and improved management of work-related stress,” the document says. It also states that having pets on the job can increase worker productivity.

Norberto says the initiative arose from citizen requests.

“[People who came to my citizen-affairs office] said to me, ‘Hey, why don’t you launch an initiative because I leave my little dog alone when I have to go to work, and it’s alone all day,’” he said in October 2023.

Mar García, GPJ Mexico

Timbre the cat and Barragán the dog prompted the transformation of Casa de la Cultura Postal, a museum in downtown Mexico City that exhibits the history of the country’s postal service, into a pet-friendly space.

At that time, the legislator thought that, in order for the measure to be successful, it would be necessary “to abide by the animal ownership laws in force and to be careful about personnel with allergies and phobias working there.”

The proposed initiative has not come up for debate by the capital’s Congress.

In the meantime, some public entities are already beginning to add pets to their ranks. Casa de la Cultura Postal, a museum in downtown Mexico City that exhibits the history of the country’s postal service, adopted a cat named Timbre (Spanish for “stamp”) and a dog named Barragán early last year.

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Mar García, GPJ Mexico

Barragán and Timbre, an adopted dog and cat, roam the Casa de la Cultura Postal museum in Mexico City.

When Timbre, the museum’s first pet, arrived, changes had to be made to work dynamics, and new cleaning equipment had to be purchased to ensure neither workers nor visitors were negatively impacted. However, when it became apparent that her presence was generating enthusiasm among visitors, the decision was made to go one step further to transform the facilities. Today, both the museum and its restaurant are pet-friendly spaces.

“[Visitors] were saying, ‘Hey, you have a dog. You have a cat. Can I bring my dog?’ And I would tell them yes,” says museum administrator Karen May, who has witnessed pets in the facility ranging from rabbits to hamsters.

May says the presence of Timbre the cat and Barragán the dog changed not only Casa de la Cultura Postal but also its workers and visitors. And even if their arrival did pose some challenges, the general consensus is that they have delivered great satisfaction.

Mar García is a Global Press Journal reporter based in Mexico City, Mexico.


Shannon Kirby, GPJ, translated this article from Spanish.

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