Credit: Kelsey Rolfe

Cadillac Fairview Corp. let the dogs out at four of its downtown Toronto office towers to cheer up its employees on Blue Monday, known as the gloomiest day of the year.

The commercial landlord held pop-up puppy parks at Cadillac Fairview Tower, RBC Centre, TD Place and Simcoe Centre, where trained therapy dogs from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and Instagram-famous pups Elvis Pawsley and Horton McSnorton were on hand  for employees to cuddle. Attendees were also able to speak with representatives from the CAMH.

The event, now in its third year, is part of the company’s health and wellness strategy to support employee mental health.

Read: How can employers help employees combat Blue Monday?

“We invite both our employees and our clients from those office buildings that are participating to come down and enjoy the puppies . . . and feel a little more comfortable and feel good about what’s to come for the year,” says Patrick Nurse, Cadillac Fairview’s manager of tenant relations. “[We’re] engaged in making sure we have great and healthy work environments and Blue Monday is just one of the initiatives that we have in place to support that.”

Pet therapy has many documented benefits, including reducing blood pressure and stress and improving overall mental well-being.

“It really has a known, and an obvious, positive impact on people’s mental health,” says Paula Harrington, director of employee experience at the CAMH and a volunteer for the centre’s pet therapy program. “To do something like this for your staff and for tenants and for visitors on Blue Monday, which is known to be the most depressing day of the year, unfortunately, is a really good idea. It will have an impact on people, for sure.”

Read: Half of Canadian workers experience the winter blues: survey

That impact can even last beyond Blue Monday, she adds. “People feel great, not just for the day, but for the whole week, because there’s the experience of the dog and then there’s the retelling of what happened and kind of re-experiencing it. It really has much longer-lasting benefits than you’d think.”

In addition to hosting the puppy parks, Cadillac Fairview donated $10,000 to the CAMH’s pet therapy program.

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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