If you've always wanted to introduce your "best friend" to your co-workers, mark June 20 on your calendar: It's Take Your Dog to Work Day. Created by Pet Sitters International in 1999, the event began to build awareness of pet-related issues, including pet overpopulation and benefits of animal companionship. "It is our hope . . . that those without pets will see firsthand the joy shared between well-behaved dogs and their loving owners, and perhaps be encouraged to adopt from a local animal shelter," says Pet Sitters president Patti Moran in a news release. Here are some things you should know to prepare for the day. Go to www.takeyourdog.com to register to participate. Lyra Solochek, BayLink editor
Check with your workplace: Before the big day, check with management and co-workers to see whether anyone is allergic, afraid of or opposed to you bringing your dog to work for this day.
Pet-proof your work space: Remove poisonous plants, hide electrical cords and wires, and secure toxic items such as correction fluid, permanent markers, etc. Any office items in question should be placed out of your dog's reach.
Make sure your pet is ready: Be sure its shots are up-to-date. If your dog appears sick, don't bring it to the office. Don't bring dogs that are aggressive or overly shy. Instead, consider bringing a photograph of your dog.
Doggie bag: Bring food, treats, bowls, toys, leash, paper towels, clean-up bags and pet-safe disinfectant. If you are routinely in and out of your work space, consider bringing a portable kennel.
Plan the feeding times: Be sure to choose an appropriate area for your dog to relieve himself afterward.
Don't force co-workers to interact with the dog: Dog lovers will make themselves known. To avoid pet accidents, monitor the amount of treats your pet is being given. Remember that chocolate, candy and other people food should not be shared with dogs.
Have an exit strategy: If your dog becomes overly boisterous, agitated or withdrawn, consider taking him or her home. Never, under any circumstance, leave your pet alone in a vehicle while you work.