09/21/2011 08:22 am ET Updated Oct 13, 2011

Is It Healthy To Take Your Pets To Work?

Animals usually conjure up images and feelings of joy (unless, of course, you have a severe allergy to them). We’ve all peeked at those cute animal videos on YouTube, and coming home to a dog or cat can make an owner feel comforted after a long day. Now, more and more information is pointing to the conclusion that animals may be beneficial to humans in other ways.

For years, pets have been used in various health-related companion programs. The most obvious example is service dogs for the blind, although dogs have also been proven to be effective companions for autistic children -- having a calming effect and even allowing some children to adjust their medications. Other health benefits of having animal friends around include a better ability to regulate one’s blood pressure, a correlation with physical fitness and even depression-fighting qualities. Something that hasn’t received a lot of attention, however, is the idea of pets in the work place.

SomaTV’s “Pet Friends” recently explored the way that pets can benefit their owners in a business setting. Two of the individuals that they interviewed, for instance, are Leo Franken and Stevi Gorosh, who run Image Optical -- an eyewear retailer -- in Vancouver, Canada. Leo’s Pomeranian dog and Stevi’s two cats have essentially become part of the staff. And they say that this pet presence has helped keep their customers happy. “Pets in the workplace give people a common ground,” says Stevi.

To learn more about the potential benefits of pets in the workplace, watch SomaTV’s full segment.