5 min read

You Can Now Invite A Shelter Pet To Join Your Office Zoom Calls

“We were just thinking of something we could do that would make people smile" ❤️️🐶😍

Video conferences are far from the most exciting part of a work day — but one animal shelter is about to change that.

A new program started by Richmond Animal Care & Control (RACC) allows individuals, companies and schools from all over the country to invite a homeless dog, cat or kitten to participate in their virtual meetings — and the results couldn't be cuter.

A shelter dog at the RACC
RACC

“We were just thinking of something we could do that would make people smile,” Christie Chipps Peters, director of RACC, told The Dodo. “We are surrounded by animals every day, and we really do understand the love and comfort that comes from them.”

“I think it’s such a wonderful thing to be able to share with other people in such a trying time right now,” she added.

RACC

Including a furry “coworker” is almost as simple as letting your cat stroll across your keyboard. To get started, simply email the shelter and specify the time and date of your meeting and what type of animal you would like to host. You can request a specific animal, or just give a few details about the kind of participant you’re looking for.

“If they want crazy, we can do something outside and they can watch them fly past the camera," Peters said. "But if they want someone who will sit and be quiet, then we have a few animals with really calm temperaments.”

A shelter dog participates in a Zoom meeting
RACC

The first shelter dog to test-drive the program was a sweet pittie named Catherine Middleton Duchess of Cambridge, who met with the Richmond-based company Altria. During the call on Monday, she proved to be a model employee.

“She’s incredibly quiet and calm, and she likes to sit in your lap,” Peters said. “She’s very professional — she’s taking her job very seriously.”

Shelter pit bull on a virtual meeting
RACC

For some of the smaller participants, shelter employees got creative with their Zoom backgrounds. The kittens now have their very own mock-office, complete with a tiny desk, coffee cup and to-do list.  

And the kittens' schedule is filling up fast.

A shelter kitten prepares for her Zoom meeting
RACC

At the moment, only pets housed in the shelter are participating in the program, but as interest grows, the shelter hopes to include dogs and cats currently in foster care as well.

And these sweet additions will make any meeting one that you won’t soon forget.

RACC

“It’s nothing more than to help people smile, to make people think about adopting from our shelter and to get some extra face time with pets here that need forever homes,” Peters said. “And how wonderful if someone falls in love with a shelter pet during a work meeting.”

To participate in Richmond Animal Care & Control's virtual meeting program, you can email katie.gantt@richmondgov.com.