Being able to pat a puppy or cuddle a cat in the workplace could be the new normal, if Australia's most well-known vet got his way.
For Dr Harry Cooper, bringing a household pet into work on a regular basis would be a welcome initiative as pets, as well as their humans, transition back to working in the office after lockdowns.
"If I had to make one big recommendation from Covid, it was that people like to have dogs around, so let's encourage having more of them in the workplace," Dr Cooper said.
"It would be a worthwhile thing to do."
The TV presenter, who is in Canberra filming segments for his regular slot on Better Homes and Gardens, said while pet ownership had increased during Covid, it had also led to other issues as restrictions eased.
"Pets have had their person with them for a long period of time, and now the owner is going back to work, there has been a lot of separation anxiety problems for the pet," Dr Cooper said.
"A lot of people who haven't had animals before had them as a companion during Covid and went and got one during lockdowns, but didn't think about it in the long run, and didn't think of how to handle the transition back to normalcy."
His comments come as Canberra vets have reported being stretched beyond their means, due to a shortage of veterinarians and a rise in the number of pets.
Some clinics have had to reduce hours for the mental wellbeing of their staff.
Dr Cooper said while the number of pets had risen, those in the the veterinary profession were always likely to be under the pump.
"I think it is up to the vets to manage it, and that's what's it's all about and it is a situation that they have to deal with," he said.
"If you're a good vet, you're going to be busy."
The TV vet was meant to be in the nation's capital to film his segments two weeks ago, but was delayed due to heavy flooding near his property on the NSW mid-north coast, which restricted access for several days.
The segments being filmed in Canberra included one with Fraser woman Linda Norris, whose three black Labradors - India, Georgie and Chompy - have been leaping up and almost knocking people over when they enter the front door.
Visits to alpaca farms in Sutton and a nearby wombat sanctuary were also on the cards.
For those who have been trying to prevent their pets from developing separation anxiety, Dr Cooper said there was a couple of things pet owners could do to alleviate the situation.
"Lots of people come back home and feel guilty for walking away, and the dogs can feel that guilt," he said.
"You have to reprogram the dog, so that you leave the house for 10 minutes, and then an hour and two hours, so the dog doesn't develop a behaviour pattern associated with you leaving. Having ways to keep the dog's mind occupied is also important."
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