My employer broke a promise on a personal issue. Upon applying I mentioned I would like to introduce a dog to the office. They liked the idea and in the following months we talked about it a couple of times. (It would be a diabetes assist dog, which was the only reason they were OK with it, but based on my emotional involvement this is not necessarily important for the question as I realised after a comment).

I moved because my landlord in my old flat wouldn't allow dogs. We talked to all other employees and during the talk they seemed OK with it. I started to make the flat dog safe, I searched for a trainer, prepared a lot and started looking for a suitable dog.

Now, after telling my employer for several weeks that I'm actively looking for a dog and being in the proceedings of adopting one, they talked to me and said they changed their decision. The reasons are understandable and fair, it concerns other employees and their health. In other words, my right to bring a dog is gone. This means I can't adopt the dog because then it would be alone for 8h a day.

Understandably I am quite sad and had a hell of a night. All that I've prepared is useless now and the emotional involvement I already had doesn't help. My question is, how much of this should my employer see? Is it more professional to put makeup on, get smiling and proceed like nothing happened? I am quite hurt and I am not sure if they should believe everything is just fine, on the other hand it's only partly their fault. I would be glad for any tips about how to appear and maybe how to cope with it professionally.

We are a small company with about 20 employees and I am on good terms with the owner. We see each other daily.

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    When you say a "diabetes assist dog" you mean a dog trained to help you medically, like detecting low blood sugar and alerting you? If your employer originally agreed to have such an assistance dog in the workplace and then reneged, I think you would have some legal basis for complaining. – DaveG Mar 19 '19 at 14:34
  • @Dave yes that is what I mean. That being said, we agreed I would train the dog myself with a qualified trainer and in my country there is no legal right to bring such dogs. I doubt that there is any legal leverage. – Lehue Mar 19 '19 at 16:10
  • A lot of people have dogs and leave them alone during the day while they work. If you live close enough you could visit during lunch or have a dogwalker take the dog out or find a doggy daycare facility. – mkennedy Mar 19 '19 at 17:23

If you need professional assistance, then you can see if your employer has an EAP that you can utilise. In addition, you should consider external help if this is affecting you to the point where you can't sleep.

Without trying to be callous, you should proceed professionally, and that would be trying to work back to a sense of normality. Having said that, it's likely your employer will be sensitive to your disappointment and will be understanding to a point.

You also have to identify, what is your end goal here? Are you trying to make them feel bad? How does it being partially being their fault change how you should behave at work?

You also seem very upset, is this because you are worried about your health? You should note that studies have shown that Diabetes Assist Dogs are largely useless. Maybe there are other approaches you can take to safeguard your health. You should get in contact with your doctor if this concern is making you worry.

It seems you are in the same position you were in several weeks ago, hopefully you can remember this.

  • Thank you for your answer. Yes it is a quite emotional topic for me, like the deepest wish which gets canceled days before fulfilling. Well, I guess I just have to let it go, but it is good to hear from someone neutral. – Lehue Mar 19 '19 at 6:40
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    @Lehue This could be a cultural thing, but it almost sounds like the utility of the animal is secondary to its characteristic as a companion? If someone characterised an epipen as their deepest wish, it would raise eyebrows with me. If it's actually the companionship that you will miss the most, you may be able to still get a dog, just not bring it to work... – Gregory Currie Mar 19 '19 at 6:48
  • You are right, I should probably rephrase the question as it is not primary about medical need but more about coping with a promised benefit that is not granted. – Lehue Mar 19 '19 at 6:51

It sounds like your employer is cool about the dog. Maybe even still. My guess is someone complained or HR out of caution stopped it after reviewing it. Or it could be they didn't understood how long you'd be bringing in the dog. Being angry at your employer when they are cool about it seems childish.

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