Health

Companies should get more creative with perks

Transcendental Meditation is on the rise in the workplace now that studies have shown its health benefits. What other perks would you like to see?

You've seen the articles recently that companies are looking beyond pay raises to satisfy their employees. For example, more companies are offering their harried employees flex time. Another perk that is making news right now is Transcendental Meditation (TM ). A lot of companies are beginning onsite TM programs for their employees.

A recent study by the National Institutes of Health offers medical proof that TM can decrease blood pressure in young adults (college students) and is associated with decreased psychological distress and coping ability.

I'd be curious to hear from anyone in this audience who's done TM who can talk about its benefits.

[Editor's note: This next section is just for fun. Some of you don't like fun. I just ask that instead of posting that we must be desperate for topics, just go ahead and click off the page.]

But speaking of perks, my preferences are much more mundane than TM and have little or no health benefits. For example, my desired perks would be:

  • Chocolate on tap - Everything, with the exception of my waist line, is better with chocolate.
  • Nap time - I love to nap. If I promise not to do it in the middle of a managers' meeting, can I have this? Please? We actually have a small couch here at TechRepublic but it's located in the exercise room and I find it hard to truly relax when there's a treadmill over in the corner mocking my laziness.
  • Company dog/cat - At home I have four dogs and two cats, and I find that being with them lowers my blood pressure and stress level. Disclosure: Except for Minnie, the dog who tried to eat our couch, and Dallas, the cat who systematically dismantled our Christmas tree last year.

So let's hear the perks you'd like to see. Also tell us about the perks your company currently uses and if they work or don't work.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

229 comments
CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Not the wood chip, "John Wayne" paper we've got, and not the microns-thin, MRE-leftover individual sheets they have in our PA facility.

cmhatte
cmhatte

I actually find that drinking a little helps me focus. Sounds counter productive, but try it. haha.

bluefilly
bluefilly

Meditation (not sure if it was TM) helped me a lot - I was calmer, more accepting, less judgemental of others and less stressed. I went to classes, but not through work. Its not necessarily religious - you can benefit from it no matter what your beliefs. Its a way of quieting your mind, slowing down, reducing the constant chatter. As for perks I would like to see, retention of free parking would be one. A gym at work, with a personal trainer. Somewhere to eat lunch away from my desk and in comfort.

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

Yeah, I checked out TM, a long time ago. Just checked some references on the subject just now. And see not much has changed. Decades ago, INDEPENDENT scientific study of TM showed it did work pretty well at relieving stress, lowering blood pressure and so forth. But did not find it worked any better than several hundred other approaches. I note that I still don't find any evidence indicating otherwise. From research conducted by INDEPENDENT scientific groups. Did you read the document you linked to? The "research" was sponsored by an organization which was founded by the guy who developed the whole TM concept, marketed it, sold it, etc. And the head researcher was a guy employed by that organization. Not that I care. When I checked out TM many years ago it was solely because I had a girlfriend at the time who was pretty much obsessed with all things having any hint of mysticism, paranormal powers, yadda, yadda, yadda. So to keep her happy, I attended an introductory session. I figured what could it hurt? I listened, I heard the mumbo-jumbo, the truths, the half-truths, and the stuff one only takes seriously if one has been using some recreational drugs a little to often to be healthy for you. Actually it was sort of fun. I showed em I could reduce my own blood pressure at will, etc ... without their training. I'd had OTHER training. Received from some guys who'd had to learn to control their own various physiological and psychological responses to stress, and other things ... as a result of getting shot at, having to do things most sane humans avoid doing, etc. Anyway. Nothing wrong with TM, except their money hungry tactics and exaggerated claims. But you can accomplish the same results via dozens and dozens of alternative methods. Most of which leave your wallet a little fatter when all is said and done. Just my opinion. As concerns dogs and cats at work? Don't get me wrong. I like dogs, and SOME cats. My own. But I'm not necessarily fond of other people's dogs and cats. Unless I'm hungry and that's what's on the menu. The only cat I ever ate tasted a lot like rabbit. Now, dog meat, I've had several times. Great stuff. Have never decided for sure as to my favorite way to enjoy dog. Dog on a stick, marinated in 7-up for a few hours, then cooked over a nice charcoal flame is pretty tasty stuff. OTOH, this one place served some of the best Chinese dog noodle soup I've ever tasted. But in Korea, I had some dog meat with spiced vegetables (hot spiced) that was so good I still drool when thinking about it. Of course, I'd never eat my own dogs. They're pets and members of the family. But other people's dogs? Especially if they annoy me too much?

Shane10101
Shane10101

Mindfulness meditation is both secular and effective for stress reduction, focus, and productivity. www.VisitYourself.net has been providing Mindfulness Meditation classes and seminars for over 5 years at the World Bank, IRS, National Academy of Sciences, American Psychological Association, and many more. Featured by NBC News and the Washington Post.

slatimer76
slatimer76

The only perk I enjoy is when a company pays for all the coffee, soda's and energy drinks you want. I mean, dont most IT people like to be wired and stay up all hours??

cbt.duke06
cbt.duke06

I'm not asking for more paid vacation days, but maybe an occasional Wednesday off to go skiing, or a Friday to sleep in or leave early.

teef_au
teef_au

I heard of a company once who offered "slob days" this is where you get one or maybe two days a year where you get to stay home from work without the need to offer an excuse. A day when "I don't feel like coming in today" is acceptable. I haven't read every single post before mine so sorry if someone already mentioned this.

rikimata
rikimata

My employers have started regular moutain bike rides during work hours as a perk and a way to de-stress. Sucks, i know...

appuhdc
appuhdc

Companies should invest some time in educating their employees in the following areas: 1. Ergonomics Movement Intervention 2. Converting daily movements into Kinetics 3. Prevention and Rehabilitation of Spinal Injuries Muscular Skeletal Injuries especially Spinal injuries are common in work place due to 8 - 9 hours stagnant body posture on our chair. Employees must be trained to eliminate erroneous habitual postures and erroneous static movement on the job. Also, understand their body signs to avoid Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) related problems. I had terrible backache couple of months back and found that I was heading towards Muscular Skeletal Injuries. It affected by spine and work progress terrible affected. Drop in my progess meeting datelines. After attended couple of rehabilitation sessions with a Biomechanic and Spine Specialist, now am feeling better and now understand my body postures. I'm able to correct myself and have been feeling better. My work progress improved and feeling happy. I'll suggest you to visit http://www.ethelskinetics.com/ethels/ Write to the specialist Dr. Gerard Gomez at dr.gerard@ethelskinetics.com Regards, Maha Pappan

mattz.design
mattz.design

So what is this garbage article supposed to do, start convincing us workers that we don't need raises, bonuses, vacation time, or even basic medical coverage while upper management keeps bringing home ever increasing paychecks? Here's a novel idea. Pay me what I'm worth, and not hand out meaningless gimmicks to try and convince me that the company cares. Maybe then I'd care enough to be productive.

TimedRelease
TimedRelease

In the cube farm we have no privacy. The first thing the doctor's office asks is "What's your date of birth?" Meeting rooms are always taken. A cool way to do it would be to put in some of those old fashioned phone booths (the kind made of nice rubbed wood), without the phone, naturally.

Jon Miller
Jon Miller

I think that TM is a nap on steroids. So to speak. Not religious. (Doesn't one have to say they are a religion and promote a belief system?) I have benefitted from TM by having more resilience, more energy, more creativity, more good humor, less missed days, more sociability, more ability to deal with stress, and increased joie de vivre. It's a great idea. Of course, TM with Chocolate would be good, too.

IMDB
IMDB

Pick me for naps, PICK ME! :D I'll be glad when our country has evolved to siestas!

bwdsb
bwdsb

Bottom line...you work hard, play hard then you die. why does everyone want to make things different and enjoy life at work...its called work do it well enjoy it...if you don't find another job. Warm and Fuzzy doens't always get the job done its just indulges the lazy people and make the work people do more work picking up after them. NO OFFENSE!

etreglia
etreglia

Definitely on board with naptime and chocolate. I'd also like to add an onsite drop-off laundry paid for by the company. Heck, I'd be happy if they put a washer/dryer in our office suite so I could do it myself. It would be far less stressful working late if I didn't have to think about the fact that I need to go home and do laundry.

lovingNJ
lovingNJ

Silly. I don't think employers could care less right now about giving perks. They are not worried about retaining talent - they know they have the upper hand in this economy.

codepoke
codepoke

From personal experience I'm dead-set against TM. My company has these health things they make everyone do, and if the TM thing ever went that way I'd have to move on. That aside. I REALLY agree with your "fun" nap suggestion. Video games and chocolate, are long-term productivity killers, but naps provide instant, documented benefits in memory, decision making, and mood. Give me naps! And as for pets, give me a parrot any day. Can you imagine working at a place with a hand raised cockatoo to visit a couple times a day? That would be so cool. :-)

GAProgrammer
GAProgrammer

Perks are a double edged swords. Companies used to use them to attract talent. Salary caps led employers to offer perks such as health insurance and look at what has happened - people EXPECT them now. In the US, these "perks" are becoming political fodder to be passed back and forth. Something that started as a perk is now a societal force. Be careful of the unintended consequences of your actions - they may come back to haunt you. I think as long as the line is drawn that this is a "perk" and is subject to removal at any time, perks can be prevented from becoming expectations.

SlowBob
SlowBob

Well, lets look at what you as an individual get and what the "company" gets out of all of this.... that's right cheap labour. Unfortunately the reality is that often you end up with one _____ (you can fill in the most appropriate noun) that is trying to save his/her butt and in doing so exploit people. By cutting jobs and promising more... In my opinion it is all very easy to resolve. Make sure that promises are realistinc and the people have a manageable workload for at least 70% of the time. There will always be times that you need to put in extra time, but that MUST be the exception rather than the norm.

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

I can remember years ago in a land far away where Uncle Sam decided I should visit, discovering that some places didn't routinely have toilet paper available. It was pretty much the BYO-TP plan, or make do without. By whatever means you could come up with. Actually, one of the nice perks where I now work is a system where one routinely gets these fake "bonus bucks". They're given out for various reasons. Just as a substitute for a pat on the back and a "well done". As a bit of a bonus incentive for getting a task done ahead of time. Because some customer commented to a manager that Employee A was most helpful. Whatever. They're not meant as a major reward. Its just an ongoing thing, and the amounts are minor. They're scratch off cards, with the amount hidden. Each card might have anything from $1 to $20 under the scratch off. The folks giving them out don't know the amount either. They're given a randomly selected mix. Net result, someone may just come up to you and hand you five of them and comment, "Thanks, that report you wrote was especially helpful in clearing up that issue we had. Keep up the good work." Then yah scratch em off to see what yah actually got. Like I said, they're used as a minor reward, acknowledgment, etc. But over a years time, they can add up. I just stick em in a pile in a desk drawer. When the pile gets big enough to seem worth it, I total it up. Some folks keep constant track. Mostly I just count it all up once a year. Anyway, you can trade em in with accounting and get actual dollars. Or, the company has a company store. Which has things like shirts, assorted coats and jackets, sweaters, some outdoors type equipment, assorted handy tools, etc ... a couple hundred different things. Every one a top quality item of its type. And, of course, somehow marked with the company logo. But very nice items. The "Store", only contains samples. The actual stuff is actually gotten from a third party firm which provides this sort of service for a lot of companies. Prices are not cheap. However they are significantly less than you'd pay for the same item at a retail store. i.e. I once used some bonus bucks to buy a Leatherman multi-tool. Thru the "store", cost me $55. I'd looked around, NO ONE sold that particular model for less than $65, even on sale. And it was usually more. At where I work, this has been a popular thing. You're always seeing someone wearing, carrying, or using items that came from that "store". Its all good, high quality stuff. Anyway, once a year I usually count mine up. It usually amounts to anywhere from $200 to $400. And decide what I might want. Or might look for something to get for someone else. Coming up soon will be the company Christmas Party. Where everyone will be given an envelop with some randomly selected bonus bucks in them. Plus yah toss a card with your name on it into a barrel, and several drawings are made from it to award "door prizes". These are items from that same "store". Minimum value of the door prizes being $50, going up to $500. If your name is chosen, and yah decide you don't actually want that item, you can swap for anything of equal or lessor value. Or add some of your bonus bucks to get something more expensive. It's a small thing. But everyone seems to like it.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

...in skeet shooting. Having more than one immediately cancels all benefits, and the first one only has a beneficial effect for a short while. And the benefit is from zero to minor.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

You don't give food a name. Many a child growing up on a farm has learned this the hard way...

heidir
heidir

Look meditation is what you make of it. It is NOT religious unless YOU make it so. And neither is YOGA... unless you want it to be. And frankly BOTH are wonderful perks that should be part of ALL companies. OK, off my soapbox for now...

zingletorp
zingletorp

I once allowed my employes to take "mental health days" as sick leave, mostly for those that almost never used sick leave. Being able to plan sick days in advance was really an advantage to all. It beat trying to sneak in the same thing without telling anyone.

Arcturus909
Arcturus909

None of us on this thread (or very very few) works outside in inclement weather. None of us has customers yelling at us 8 hours a day. None of us are digging in the mud or shovelling excrement. None of us have bad complexions because we are bent over a grill or fryer all day. I can ssume that our families are all eating well and none of us live in a house with a leaky roof. We get to work with computers all day. We get to get paid while we spend time reading other people's posts on articles such as this and posting our comments. And we want more money and more perks?! Shame on us all (me included).

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

[i]Pay me what I'm worth, and not hand out meaningless gimmicks to try and convince me that the company cares. Maybe then I'd care enough to be productive. [/i] ...that right now, you aren't productive.

Jon Miller
Jon Miller

I think that TM is a nap on steroids. So to speak. Not religious. (Doesn't one have to say they are a religion and promote a belief system?) I have benefitted from TM by having more resilience, more energy, more creativity, more good humor, less missed days, more sociability, more ability to deal with stress, and increased joie de vivre. It's a great idea. Of course, TM with Chocolate would be good, too.

jlnewmark
jlnewmark

For a fee -- onsite pickup and drop off of dry cleaning, shoe repair, package mailing, alterations, car repair (they will drive you to and pick you up from work while your car is in the shop; most jobs done in a day), other services on request. Subsidized onsite cafeteria (a big one, multiple entres, sandwich station, salad bar, grill station) with a coffee bar. PTO days all in one pot - no separate sick days, which can be a big help for working parents or the people who want a big vacation. We also start with 18 days PTO, and go up at 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years and 20 years. Discounts galore: employee purchase programs for several mobile phone companies, computer brands, retailers, a car dealership... sure, some people might never use them; some might use them only once -- but that once might be some serious savings. Onsite: ping pong rooms, foosball and air hockey tables available. Locker rooms and showers (we encourage walkers, bike riders and have several nearby gyms with employee discount programs). Mother's rooms on every floor. Remote worker -- one to several days a week, or even "permanent" by special arrangement. Two employees I know personally moved out of state due to family circumstances -- and took their jobs with them. Flex time: choose your start time (generally 6:00 AM - 9:30 AM, although some may be able to arrange late). We do have 10x4 workers, too, depending on the department. What we haven't seen in years: much in the way of raises or bonuses. What we would like and haven't seen: better coffee; better snack machines, onsite exercise room, onsite child care, raises and bonuses ;-) And yeah, I would *definitely* vote for naps, onsite meditation or yoga classes, chair massage, etc.

ralford100
ralford100

It's about *Productivity*! It's about *Profit*. A certain amount of stress is healthy for company productivity, but too much is detrimental. Something like TM, naptime, and other perks may relieve an employee's mind and promote greater creativity, innovation, etc. Look at Google!

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

I was raised on a farm. By the time one of my sisters got old enough to be paying attention, we'd ditched the farm and were living on the outskirts of a major city. Pretty far out, and seeing as how we had little by way of money, we grew a portion of our food. Extensive "kitchen garden", a couple acres. Plus we raised chickens and rabbits. This particular sister didn't remember farm days, was pretty much a city girl. One day she became particularly fond of a rabbit I was growing and named it, started going out and playing with it, and so forth. She was young enough to not really know what was what. Maybe 6 or 7 years old. Well, along came Easter. And that rabbit I was raising went on to serve its purpose. It was really a cute and friendly rabbit. And it was really big and fat, I'd taken special care to ensure that. So at Easter dinner Sis was chowing down and commenting on how good the meat was. To spare her a bit of ... ummm ... upset, my mother told her it was "chicken". Worked until Sis gobbled the meat down to clean bones, at which time she commented "Hey, this chicken has funny looking bones." ROFLMAO !!! Mom tried the obvious lie, it didn't work. Sis realized what she was eating couldn't possibly be "chicken". And TSHTF. Bawling, tears, etc. Didn't bother me a bit. I hadn't named the darn thing "Fluffy". I just called it "Rabbit". I treated it decent, a darn lot better than it would have experienced in the wild. But I make it a point to not get too attached to my dinner. Same happened years later, this time with my daughter. I told her we'd bought a pig from the farmer down the road. Actually, a piglet. Farmer raised it for us. Daughter kept going over there and talking to the pig, feeding it extra treats, etc. Named it "Sexy". Well, one day "Sexy" was frown enough, and it was Christmas time. And ham was on the menu. She only learned about Sexy's contribution to that Christmas dinner ... after the fact. Was years before she'd touch bacon, ham, or any kind of pork after that. But she finally got over it. Fortunately, bacon and ham are two of her favorite things. Don't get me wrong. I'm a dog lover. Have had PET dogs all my life. However, if its not a PET ... dog tastes pretty darn good. I've never quite understood how some folks think its perfectly okay to eat cow or pig, but not a dog or cat. If it tastes good, what's the difference?

teef_au
teef_au

Yup great idea to allow those who use less than X number of sick days in a year to be able to negotiate a mental health day the following year. As you correctly suggest, it's an advantage to be able to plan it rather than have it sneak up on you.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

I think the managers used up all the available bandwidth on facebook again. I was only looking because the Wan connection to TFS kept dropping, something to do with lack of bandwidth apparently... My boy works outside he wants more money and perks as well, careers adviser suggested he switched to IT.......

mattz.design
mattz.design

...right now, I honestly could care less about the long term growth of the company. I've had offers from others that would pay me double, even during this recession. For my experience and skill set, I'm getting maybe half of what I should be. If the company went under tomorrow, it would be nothing to me. I'd quietly collect my unemployment and find something else. Easily. So, my point is. Pay me what I'm worth. Don't try and trick me with stupid gimmicks like company cars or club memberships. When the company starts actually caring about me, I'll start caring about the company.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

CJD! Mad Human Disease, aka Wendigo, aka zombi!

Juanita Marquez
Juanita Marquez

Well, of course avoiding organs, particularly BRAAAAAIINNNZZZ would have to take place. I suppose there is a higher infection rate of CJD in zombies, since they consume prions regularly, one would assume. I smell a sci-fi novella brewing. Two of the biggest arguments for not eating humans - murder in many cultures is generally not viewed as A Good Thing, not to mention the good ol' "Ew!" factor. Most of the cats I've known didn't give a whit about catching mice. Agreed, cats that perform that basic function are probably worth their kibble, but in a practical sense, I see little value to them (although I've been told that Siamese were trained to guard temples). Not that I dislike them, I'm just more in favor of having a pet that acts like they give a darn about me most of the time instead of glancing over with an "Oh, you're HOME...good, I'll get fed tonight at some point" attitude. The best cats I knew acted like dogs. There is certainly a difference in dogs and cats, as well as their owners. Most cat owners I know would never think of making their cats purse pets or mollycoddling them to the degree that tiny dog owners do. The one cat mystery I don't understand is the direct proportional ratio between age and number of cats. Why so many little old ladies with cat legions, and no corresponding increase with dogs and the elderly? They sanely stop at one or three, at most.

Juanita Marquez
Juanita Marquez

I knew pigs were pretty smart...unfortunately for them, apparently their indiscriminate eating habits, among other things, make their constitutions quite good for medical testing to simulate the effects in humans. In earlier days, both cow and pig insulin were administered to diabetics to keep them alive. Later on, E. coli and now plant sources are taking over. I agree as well that behavior training can make the difference in an animal, even given in the yap dog example above. At least, beasts that are safely domesticated - I have no desire to hang out with grizzlies or tigers that may decide we look too delicious to resist, or chimps that decide they're tired of one too many tricks when they hit adolescence.

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

Years ago, in the mid 70's, I watched a demonstration by a research institute which had experimented with the idea of pigs as "working dog" substitutes. They put them through exactly the same sort of training regimen that police and military dogs go through. The pigs scored better at everything. These weren't your farm raised eating pigs. The pair I personally watched getting put through their paces had at least some Arkansas Razorback in them. Maybe closing in on 180 pounds or so, long legged, lean and muscular trunks. They had a regular daily physical fitness workout for quite some time. Running, jumping, doing obstacle courses, walking balance beams, etc. Their diet carefully planned. Their handlers and trainers were in fact guys who made a living training police and military dogs. The research was supervised by scientists. The trainers, experienced dog guys, just couldn't praise the performance of those pigs enough. They were flat amazed. Not only did the pigs perform superlatively all the tasks, better than dogs did. They had the added advantage that they were stronger ... and could handle a man fighting back better than the dogs could. A punch or kick that'd make a dog yelp and back off, hardly bothered those pigs at all. The one draw back mentioned by the researchers ... was public attitude and acceptance of the idea. And image. At the time cops were already having a public image problem. And were being called "pigs" ... Anyway, it was just a research program. A proof of concept. It worked but I was told by the researchers that while representatives from various police departments were impressed as heck. None wanted to deal with the public image thing. People liked dogs, knew something about them. Didn't know a darn thing about pigs except as bacon, or that funny pig on a comedy show. In all honesty, if I were a bad guy, I'd rather square off with a dog than a well trained, physically fit hog. Ever gone wild pig or boar hunting? They're aggressive, they're fast and can maneuver quickly, very smart, and can have a nasty attitude. And don't rely on the fact that just because yah shot em or stabbed em that they're gonna go down. They can take a lot of damage and keep on trying to rip your leg or arm off.

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

On most points. I like dogs as pets and companions, and as working animals when that is the case. And think highly of them for all the reasons you list. My only point was that does this mean that someone like myself should automatically exclude all dogs from the dinner plate? That ALL dogs are automatically to be classed as more noble and worthy than any other critter? In my view? No. Where I now live, the eating of dog is not customary nor is it considered socially acceptable. And I rarely see a dog which isn't someone's pet. Nor do I have any pressing reason to go find a stray and put him on the dinner table. However, I haven't got any issue with those places and people who do eat dog. I've been to such places, have enjoyed dog meat. And thought no more about it than if I'd been served beef, pork, chicken, or fish. I was just kind of amused in the original article that it seemed to be assumed that just because a lot of folks like dogs (and cats) that they'd welcome them in the work place. So I was having a little fun with it. While I do consider myself a dog person, that does not mean I automatically like all dogs. Some I find utterly annoying for various reasons. Some are like spoiled brats, demanding attention, demanding that things go their way, seem unable to be obedient, etc, etc. So I was having a bit of fun with the thought of, "Okay, you expect that I HAVE to put up with someone else's darn dog in the workplace? Even if its a spoiled, obnoxious, mutt? I don't think so. If it annoys me enough ...." Years ago my mother-in-law had a couple little ankle-biters. They were pure bred something or other, I forget what. As much as I do like dogs, hers would have been a couple dead mutts if I'd have had any choice in the matter. Yapping all the time, getting in the way, they'd make you walk around them. Wouldn't stay off the furniture. Would claim best seats in the house and growl at you if you tried to get them to move. Oh, the lady would chide them for not obeying, but she'd never actually do anything about it. Just make clucking sounds, shrug shoulders, and comment "Well, they're children, what can you expect or do?" ROFLMAO ! What could I expect? I could expect that if they'd been MY dogs ... they'd have undergone an attitude adjustment. Those darn mutts of hers wouldn't even eat dog food. Nor leftover human food. They expected freshly cooked human food, on human style platters. Liked their eggs scrambled, and their steak medium well and still hot. I couldn't stand those critters. Well, along came an event that meant the mother-in-law had to go to another state for 3 weeks, in a hurry. A favored cousin was dying. So she asked the wife and I to "baby sit" her dogs. Even tho she knew I despised the animals. She didn't have a lot of choice nor time to find alternatives. Chuckle. She'd not known just how long she'd be away. Turned out to be just over 3 weeks. When she got back, one of the first things she noticed were the dog food bowls on the floor, with dog food in them. She looked at me with a puzzled look and quipped, "They won't eat dog food." I answered, "They do now." (Yah let the suckers starve long enough, they'll eat whatever you give em.) She also noticed that when we all went into the living room to sit and chat, that when I found one occupying a chair in which I intended to sit, all I had to say was "Down" and the critter immediately evacuated in haste. LOL ... she stared at me and asked, "What did you do to my dogs?" I assured her that I'd done nothing that caused em any permanent damage or emotional trauma. In fact as I talked, I snapped fingers and both ran to me tails wagging, to get some petting. They did not jump on me, they'd learned I did not like that. And had learned that dogs can indeed fly. They'd also learned that a small tidbit of leftover steak was a treat, only gotten as a reward for good behavior. And dog food was the regular food to be eaten, or you go hungry. As much as they'd annoyed me at first, I wouldn't really have eaten them. But I did convince em I MIGHT if they didn't have a major change in attitude and behavior. Mother-in-law was appalled at first. I'm pretty sure she thought I'd sorely abused her poor babies while she was gone. But then she discovered it was kinda nice that they actually behave selves, now seemed to know what "No" meant, etc. And she didn't have to cook special meals just for them. Nor would they beg at the table when humans were eating. They found out I didn't like that, either. The hard way. So they'd stay back until (and if) you called to them and offered a tidbit from your plate. In short, they acted like dogs, not spoiled kids with no manners nor consideration for anyone else. And now understood the "chain of command" in the "pack" and where they stood in it. At the bottom. But that was okay with em, they understood that sort of thing. In exchange, as long as they did their part, I treated em well. They were warm, dry, well fed, safe, got petted, got to play, etc. I saw to it. That was my end of the bargain. They just had to hold up their end of it. If they did, all was good. Actually, they turned out to be a pretty good pair of mutts, I kinda got fond of them. After they'd gotten their attitudes right. When my mother-in-law passed away, we took in her dogs and cared for them until it was their turn to go. Once they were old enough and ill enough so that we could no longer stand to watch their suffering, we had them put to sleep by the vet. The wife and I standing there, each petting and talking to them as they went into that final sleep. Didn't want them to die alone in a strange place full of strange people. It is possible I'm not quite a mean and unfeeling as my posts may have caused some folks to think. However, if its not a pet? I'd still sit down to a dog meat dinner in a heartbeat if its cooked by someone who knows what they're doing.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Creutzfeld Jacobs And more; cats have been absolutely crucial to human survival to this date. Far more so than dogs, that are more of a convenience. Keeping the mice out of the larder... priceless.

JamesRL
JamesRL

I will grant you without debate that pigs are smart, and that they have a better sense of smell than dogs. But pigs are not innately pack animals, and its that trait that allows us humans to control dogs. If we establish with a dog that we are a pack leader, they happily follow. If the dog isn't sure if we are the pack leader, gets mixed signals, then things go wrong. Pigs on the other hand, are not in the least selfless or trainable, unless the training is around them getting food. And Cows, well most cows are pretty dumb. By the way, I'm with most trainers on the nuture versus nature side of dogs. The biggest influence on dog behaviour is the owner. As the famous Cesar Milan is fond of quoting, he "rehabilitates dogs, and trains owners".

Juanita Marquez
Juanita Marquez

in rationalization, no offense meant or taken, and no justification needed. I'm a treehugger and love critters, but I'm certainly more sane than some (I, too, find PETA extreme); I just find it interesting how various people view life in its diverse forms. IMO, causing pain or suffering, no matter what kind of critter or person it is, is distressing to me and (in my moral structure) wrong. Not "I'm going to be eternally punished" wrong, just "this is really not cool" wrong. The only times I find it remotely acceptable is when the outcome of such thing is for a higher purpose or greater good, such as testing a new medicine or somesuch, and even then should be done as humanely as possible or not at all if avoidable. What has to be done has to be done. I don't begrudge hunters their catch, I appreciate the fact that they actually USE what they kill - and hope they dispatch cleanly. I am not saying that everyone else should live by my feelings, I'm simply explaining them. For argument's sake: For every dog worth his/her keep by being actually useful and productive in human terms, there are dozens who aren't. And more dozens who're actually a danger to humans in one way or another. But how about those that are innately dangerous due to whatever psychological or genetic trait. Or those just to stupid to live without a human providing for its care and feeding. Etc. Etc. If these arguments were applied to people, it would be on the level of promoting homocide. Just as with people, how does one know which ones (dogs OR people) are going to be the good or bad ones in the future? And, are either to be written off by bad behavior, or are either of them to be given a chance to reform bad behavior? Both can be reformed and productive in the right circumstances. Germs happen, in either case. I would agree with you that people tend to harbor more and are inherently more self-destructive in their behaviors and exposure to contaminants. IMO, some dogs have gone above and beyond actions that humans would take in order to save the lives of or care for their masters - and I don't think any of that has anything to do with minding the Alpha. Stories about of dogs that wait on the graves of their masters, warn them of fires, swim after them in treacherous waters, and so forth. If self-preservation was truly the only justification, I think they would flee the fire or allow you to drown. As far as a dog being your only friend - I would wager that is possible, depending on the circumstances. In some instances, I find animals, particularly dogs, more noble than people, even excluding anthropomophism. By logic, critters should just be eating, pooping, reproducing machines; it is the ones that go beyond that behavior that intrigue me. Equal to humans in intellect? Perhaps not. More noble and selfless than some? Absolutely. And it is those qualities that make me less likely to consume them than other creatures who do seem to follow the eat, poop, reproduce cycle. If I were to eat humans, I'd have to insist on organically-grown healthy hippy children who were kept away from vaccinations. (Bad for them...good for me, less additives!) At least there would be less likelihood of disease and GMO's. Of course they would need a thorough scrubbing first.

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

Okay, Sorry, I can not be responsible for your confusion or angst. SOME dogs, may be able to detect cancerous lesions, etc. I am quite aware of that. Have been for a long, long time. You missed the part about my being fond of dogs? And have had dogs as pets for most of my 60 years? A specious argument. Ill thought out. All feel goodie, etc. For every dog worth his/her keep by being actually useful and productive in human terms, there are dozens who aren't. And more dozens who're actually a danger to humans in one way or another. I like dogs, a lot. A well behaved dog. One who has integrated into human society in such a way as to make itself valuable. As a tool to take down bad guys, as a tool to sniff out medical problems. As a tool to help those who're somewhat lacking psychologically and need the help of a mute friend or pet to be a companion or friend. As a substitute for those unable or unwilling to have their own children. Or just as a pal. Fine. Wonderful. But how about those that are innately dangerous due to whatever psychological or genetic trait. Or those just to stupid to live without a human providing for its care and feeding. Etc. Etc. DOGS ... are not humans ... nor human substitutes. All in all, just not all that bright. Nor do they actually think in human terms, nor have the SAME emotions as humans. They're no closer to human than a cat, or a mole, or a wolf, or a cow, or a pig, or a crow ... etc ... etc. My point was. A dog is a dog. Its not a furry, four legged human substitute. As concerns my pet dogs. I have always treated them well. In fact the vet we use is always amazed at how healthy, active, etc they are. BTW, if the vet, darling that she is, ever recommended we take a dog to a dog psychologist? I'd fire her and shoot the dog. As healthy and happy as my dogs have always been ... they're DOGS. If no one else cares about you but your dog ... you REALLY need help. It's pretty much like saying you're so worthless and bad at being a decent human being (its not others, its you, quit making excuses) that the only friend yah have who can stand yah is your pet snail. Now I quite enjoy coming home, tired, worn out, maybe having a bad day. And knowing that one or all my dogs will be glad to see me, and not ask much ... just some petting and scratching. That's it, that's all. They don't expect more. So I haven't gotta think much, no battle of the minds with another human, nothing more required. They're happy. I feed em, I keep em warm and dry. I pet em time to time. Good enough, they don't ask more than that. Not only are they happy with that muc, they dare not ask for more. Because ... I'm the pack leader. And just like in real life if they were in the wild ... if they tried to make further demands upon me ... I just might kill em. They know that. It's in their instincts and genes. Its what THEY would do, any of em, if they were the leaders of the pack. Cats are okay. Depending on the cat. My kinda cat is a Garfield kind. Most other sorts, I can't stand. BTW, they pretty much taste like rabbit. At least the one I ate tasted like rabbit. And during the great French famine, they called em "long rabbit". Why not eat people? It's illegal? Many humans have dirty, filty habits and behavior and I worry about disease? Etc. Now if TSHTF, and things were really getting bad, and to survive and ensure my family survived I had to make some hard choices. Well, I'm not inclined to eat my pets. Besides the fact that I like em. my dogs are useful. They get rid of pests, alert me about intruders, etc. Nor am I inclined to eat family members, or my friends or decent neighbors. And I know the Girl Scouts in the neighborhood, and their parents. Nice people. Now, strangers? Folks I don't know or like? In all honesty, I'd be more likely to kill and eat one of those than one of my own dogs. I do not subscribe to some nonsense that this critter deserves to die and be eaten more than some other, JUST because some human somewhere says "Oh no, those particular animals are our friends." Pure BS, nothing more, nothing less. Strictly an arbitrary state of mind. Based upon no real reasoning or logic whatsoever. FWIW, hogs can smell the same cancerous lesions. Make better police dogs than dogs. Are smarter. Etc. I make no excuses for my thoughts and opinions. But just so yah know, I never ... ever kill an animal without some necessity to do so, nor do I ever draw out that killing longer than necessary. I make it as short and sweet as possible. And IAW the practices of my ancestors I always say a little prayer to the critters ancestors asking their understanding for the necessity. I am no member of PETA, nor are they friends of mine. IMHO ... those folks have gone friggin insane. OTOH, I have NO tolerance for unnecessary cruelty, abuse, or neglect of animals. NONE. I hope I'm clear. I'm by no means trying to slam you or anything. We simply disagree. Its just in my mind, I don't mix animals and humans, equate one to the other. And pets and food are entirely two different things. Nor do I see why a cow or pig is necessarily less worthy than a dog. BTW, I have a particular fondness for the name Juanita. It was my grandmother's first name. My best to you and yours.

Juanita Marquez
Juanita Marquez

I love meat as well, but the idea of killing creatures so I can survive has always left me with a guilty conscience. I've toyed with the idea of vegetarianism but I physically need more/different protein than it provides. Not eating dogs can be rationalized by the fact that no other animal has been trained to sniff out cancerous lesions, find lost people buried in collapsed buildings, be daily assistants to those whose sight or mobility is impaired, protect the lives of police officers, keep you safe, warm and help you travel in the wilderness, and be an all-around friend when no one else seems to care about you. Cats, on the other hand, seem to have limited uses. I still wouldn't eat them. People taste like pork. I would be interested to watch your front door and see if those succulent Girl Scouts, as well as their cookies, vanish.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Otherwise, why'd it be made out of meat?

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

they are paying you what you are worth, to them... You want to be worth more, it's "Make it so" time. So while I agree that "perks" instead of pay especially when sold as somehow better than money, is self serving corporate drivel, if I wanted to be paid more, I'd do more of what they valued, or burger off somewhere where my value is greater. As for them caring, no matter how much they pay you, I advise you not to hold your breath waiting for that. You are starting to sound like one of those the world owes me a living types, they are as irritating as employers do you a favour by employing you ones.

JamesRL
JamesRL

There are things that don't cost the company a great deal of money, that do improve employee morale. You find out when you cancel them. My company has had a kids Christmas party for years. My kids are too old (12 and under) to get gifts, so I haven't taken them in a few years, but I was saddened to leanr that the party was cancelled this year. A few volunteers offered ways to run it on the cheap (have the parents buy their own kids presents) but it was still turned down. If you don't care about your company, you should probably find one you do care about and go there - both you and the company would be better off.