It’s a dog’s life…

‘It’s a dog’s life’ is a phrase that is defined as ‘a very unhappy and unpleasant life.’ Having had dogs in the house all my life, the definition surprises me as my dogs have always been happy animals; keen to please, explore and play. Milo, my current canine companion, is a cocker spaniel and, in true spaniel style, is the happiest dog, raring to go at any opportunity! My definition would therefore be the total opposite.

Tilhill Forestry is a flexible employer and allows dogs to come to work with you, travel in your vehicle and join you on your visits to site, provided they are well behaved and properly supervised. 

As a ‘dog person’ this is definitely a perk of the job as Milo often gets his daily exercise during our visits to site and provides some company whilst lone working. A colleague also commented on the enjoyment of having the office dogs come to visit him at his desk. This might sound strange, but a study carried out at Central Michigan University suggests that there are a number of key benefits of having dogs in the work place:

  • Dogs lower stress, heart rate and blood pressure and make individuals who work alone feel less lonely.
  • People are perceived as more friendly and approachable when a dog is present in the office.
  • It’s likely to increase cooperation and other positive behaviours among members of work groups.

In addition to the canine stress relief current research suggests that walking in the forest, also known as forest bathing, promotes cardiovascular relaxation and reduces negative psychological symptoms.

It would appear that, as foresters, our opportunities for stress relief and mental wellbeing are well looked after! Combine this with the physical nature of our job (walking up hills, across restock sites, along fence lines, digging, planting and cutting things) we are in a position to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
In the Central Borders Office this is very evident, as all members of staff enjoy various forms of outdoor recreation including mountain biking, trail running, hunting, hiking, open water swimming and dog walking.  It is fantastic to work with like-minded people with similar interests, enjoying our time together at work and during our free time in the evenings and at weekends. I’d go as far as saying that it’s a dog’s life being a forester using my definition of the phrase!

Byron Braithwaite

Forest Manager, Central Borders