This week, I came across an interesting story about a woman in Italy who asked her employer for paid sick leave to take her dog to the vet because her dog is “like family” to her. The woman, who has only been identified as Anna, lives alone with her two English Setters, 12 year old Cucciola and 17 year old Duke. When Cucciola needed surgery, she asked for paid sick leave because she was the only one who could take the dog to the vet.
Later, she found out that she’d been charged vacation days and she asked an animal advocacy group, Lega Anti Vivisezione, for help. In Italy, it is against the law to mistreat or abandon an animal and not providing medical care falls under that law. She could have faced legal action for not taking care of her dog. When the advocacy group presented this argument to her employers, they changed their minds and gave her the paid leave she’d originally asked for.
There was also mention of a company in Scotland, Brewdog, that allows employees one week off to adopt a puppy. Several American companies allow employees to use bereavement days when they lose a pet. It seems that around the world, people are starting to view pets as family, not just from a personal standpoint, but also from a legal standpoint.
I’m not sure I ever thought I’d see a day when something like this was possible, but I think it’s a good thing. With all the benefits that pets are known to bring to our lives and all the people who view pets as part of the family, it seems like it’s time to treat them that way. Now that people are starting to be able to take their dogs to work more regularly, and more places are becoming pet friendly, it seems like a natural extension to allow people the time they need to take care of them. It takes time to change people’s minds and hearts, but maybe it will happen more quickly than we think.