@DogsWorkingFromHome made its first post during the onset of the coronavirus crisis, and already has hundreds of submissions
An errant ear appearing in the bottom right corner of the screen. A blur of fur flashing in the background, followed by a crash. The chance to check out our colleagues’ pets during video conferences can be a voyeuristic joy for workers stuck at home during the novel coronavirus pandemic.It took Mark Polchleb, a brand manager from Melbourne, just one day to realise that experience deserved its own home online. “I just took advantage of the fact that my dogs are at my feet. I thought ‘we all need a bit of happiness in our lives right now’.”
That bit of happiness became @DogsWorkingFromHome, an Instagram account dedicated to the pets that both enliven and complicate working remotely. “I think we’ve all experienced trying to type on the keyboard with the dog edging its head into your hands,” he says.Polchleb is no stranger to Instagramming his pets. The dachshunds he co-parents with his husband, Billie and Ollie, had already amassed a few thousand followers. “They’re used to this fame world and so now they’re creating a community of friends,” Polchleb says.
Thanks to a callout on Billie and Ollie’s account, Polchleb says he has had hundreds of submissions to the account on its first day live. Now it has become more of a distraction than his actual dogs. “It’s hard to balance [posting] and actually working, so my husband’s helping out now … so there’s a constant feed of happiness for everyone to enjoy.”His favourite submission so far has been from Hazel Yeoh, a Singaporean woman with seven rescue dogs in her house.
Plan for When You’re Not There. Make sure your pets are provided for during those long hours when you’re away. Dr. Becker suggests technological options. “DOGTV has stimulation and relaxation channels, and there are apps that control contraptions that talk to your pet, or dispense treats. Pheromone sprays can also reduce anxiety, creating that kumbaya atmosphere.” And, of course, daycare and dog walkers are a great way to enrich your pet’s day. “Know someone who wants exercise? Maybe they’ll walk your dog.”
Right now, the account only has one rule. “[The dogs] definitely need to be at home. Obviously we’re at a time where we’re encouraging people to stay at home and indoors. We’ve had people submitting dogs at cafes, which is a big ‘no-no’ from me. We want to see those doggos at home with their families where everyone should be staying for now.
“Apart from that,” he says, “as long as they’re cute and can make us smile then we’ll take anything.”