Thursday, March 23, 2017

In a first for the government, dogs will be welcome at the Interior Department

                                                Ragnar, Ryan Zinke’s dog, poses at the Interior Department with an image of one of Zinke’s idols, former President Theodore Roosevelt. (Tami Heilemann)
The Cabinet secretary who rode a horse to work on his first day is letting his employees bring their dogs to the office. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will announce in an email to employees Thursday morning the start of “Doggy Days at Interior,” a program that will launch with test runs at the agency’s Washington headquarters on two Fridays in May and September. The new policy will make Interior the first federal agency to go dog-friendly — and cement Zinke’s status as the Trump administration’s most visible animal fan. Zinke earlier this month arrived at his new workplace astride Tonto, a bay roan gelding who belongs to the U.S. Park Police and resides in stables on the Mall. President Trump, meanwhile, remains pet-less, a status that makes him the first U.S. leader in 150 years without a companion animal and leaves the White House without a first dog or cat. Vice President Pence and his family keep two cats and a rabbit at their Naval Observatory home, though those critters keep a relatively low profile. Zinke, a fifth-generation Montanan, former Navy SEAL and congressman, said his dog policy’s primary goal is to boost morale at the far-flung Interior agency, which includes the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management and six other departments. Interior ranked 11th in employee morale of the 18th largest federal agencies in last year’s Best Places to Work in the Federal Government survey, with just 61 percent of its 70,000 employees saying they’re happy in their jobs...more

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