Melbourne based animal behaviourist Laura Vissaritis helps people understand their animals. After working for many years at a zoo with a range of animals, Vissaritis now helps domestic pet owners understand their pet’s behaviours.
She says that when pet owners understand their pets, owners can make pets happier, which results in better pet behaviour.
Pawternity (or cat-ternity for feline friends) is the term coined by pet owners for employment leave so employees can look after new pets.
It is mostly used so employees can help pets settle into their new homes without using their sick days, and rather than being sick leave, it is considered carers leave.
As pets are introduced to their new environment, they need their owner’s help to settle in. Without proper support during their first days in a new place, separation anxiety, destructive and antisocial behaviour are common risks. These risks affect the pet, the owner and the surrounding community, so having that time to help your new puppy settle in can benefit everyone.
Pawternity may sound a little strange, but it is becoming increasingly popular, with countries including Australia, USA, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Scotland and Canada incorporating this leave into work contracts.
Vissaritis is helping spread the word and start conversation about Pawternity. Helping people think more about their pets’ needs (who really are fluffy family members). This helps communities learn to support pets, as pets make communities happier. This concept also helps employees work better-they won’t be as distracted by what their pet is doing at home.
A few workplaces in Australia already offer Pawternity, but numbers of workplaces offering Pawternity are currently still low.
To access Pawternity currently in Australia right now, it needs to be discussed with your employer. “In a couple of years, Pawternity will be a part of everybody’s contract”, claims Vissaritis.
Vissaritis explains why pets are so important, “The pet industry has become crucial to humans and is a major part of our lives. Pets are particularly popular with younger generations who are choosing not to have children as well as middle aged people who experience ‘empty nest syndrome’ as their children leave home”. When pets are the new children, it does seem crazy that they are left home alone so soon after being introduced into a new environment.
Vissaritis suggests, “a couple of days off work should be enough to help your pet settle in, a day either side of a weekend is a good way to do Pawternity”.
Ensuring new pets are happy and comfortable in their new homes is the key to having happy pets and happy owners, which creates better workplaces and communities.
So next time a furry friend is about to join your family, ask your employer about Pawternity.
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