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Take Your Dog to Work Day: Photos of dogs on the job

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Kerstin Joensson/AP

(Read caption) Dog handler Christina Oberhauser and her rescue dog Smiley search for survivors in a snow hole during a simulated avalanche rescue operation in the Heutal Valley in Salzburg, Austria, on Feb. 26. During this simulation, rescue dogs learn how to find victims of avalanches as quickly as possible.

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Take Your Dog To Work Day was created in 1999 to celebrate what good companions dogs are. The holiday is also meant to encourage the adoption of dogs from humane societies, animal shelters, and breed rescues. Take Your Dog To Work Day calls on employers to open their offices to employees' furry friends for the day.

But what would happen if Fido skipped out on his own job to accompany you on yours?

Bombs would go undetected.

The Monitor reported in March that the Thai military was continuing to use bomb detectors that were proven unreliable. The British-made scanner could not find explosives hidden in 4 out of 5 containers. We have some advice for the Thai military: Get a dog.

IN PICTURES: Dogs at work

While humans have about 6 million smelling receptors in our noses, dogs can have over 300 million, Alexandra Horowitz note in her book "Inside of a Dog."

"Dogs have more genes committed to coding olfactory cells, more cells, and more kinds of cells, able to detect more kinds of smells," she writes.

So if you're planning on taking a plane somewhere or attending a concert or sporting event, you might want to send Fido to work instead.

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Smuggling would go unchecked.

At a border, a canine team can inspect a vehicle in five to six minutes, as opposed to a human officer who can take as long as 20 minutes. Drug-detection dogs have been trained to find contraband such as marijuana, hashish, cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy.

In 2005, the US Customs and Border Protection began a dual-detection training program for a new class of dogs that could also detect concealed humans.

Livestock would go unherded.

If herding dogs went to the office instead of the pastures, farmers and livestock keepers would need more than one Babe to keep order. They'd call, "Away to me," "Cast," or "Come bye," and no dog would be there. It would be chaos. Sheep everywhere.

The official Take Your Dog To Work Day website describes how to prepare your dog for the office, advising that owners keep their dogs calm and "polite." This may be hard for your herding dog who may instinctively try to herd your coworkers as though they were sheep.

People would spend more time buried under debris.

Dogs are often used in search and rescue, sometimes to find a missing person, survivors in a disaster, or in avalanches, for example. In the recent flash floods in Arkansas and Brazil, cadaver dogs were brought in to help locate victims.

These canine teams performed duties similar to units that were in Haiti after the earthquake. "'Live-scent' dogs are arguably the most valuable tools rescue workers have in a disaster of this magnitude. These elite canines can climb and run across the piles of concrete and other debris in the streets of Port-Au-Prince and determine within three minutes if there are survivors buried below," the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation said.

Avalanche search-and-rescue dogs were on patrol at Whistler in British Columbia during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. The Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dog Association says that a search dog will need only 30 minutes to cover about two and a half acres of land. A human team would take almost four hours to search the same area.

Doorbells wouldn't be answered, and disabled vets would be lonelier.

Assistance dogs can fall into several categories, and they help people with everyday tasks. Guide dogs assist the blind. Hearing dogs can alert people to doorbells, smoke detectors, telephones, or alarms. Some service dogs can be trained to perform physical jobs such as turning on lights, opening doors, and pulling wheelchairs.

Therapy dogs are trained to provide attention and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, and for those with post-traumatic stress disorder. Certified therapy dogs at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington help relieve stress, improve confidence, and provide companionship to disabled veterans.

Some kids would have a harder time learning to read.

Dogs are also used to promote and develop reading skills for children. For kids with learning disabilities, or who are reluctant to read aloud in front of peers, a therapy dog can be a non-judgemental audience for them to build confidence in reading aloud.

The war in Afghanistan could be compromised.

Fido may even be deployed overseas, and what better reason is there for missing Take Your Dog To Work Day?

As the number of troops being sent to Afghanistan increases with the troop surge, so too are the number of dogs serving. An American K-9 project manager for Afghanistan expects that the number of dogs on missions in Afghanistan could reach over 300. The LA Times reported that in on month alone, military dogs in southern Afghanistan made 20 finds of unexploded devices, weapons caches, and other materials.

The US military has the largest canine force in the world with 2,800 dogs currently serving.

So while having Fido at work might greatly benefit you and your employer - CNN reported that 75 percent of people surveyed said they would work longer hours if they could bring their dog to the office - a greater disservice to society would be done if working dogs skipped out on work Friday.

IN PICTURES: Dogs at work

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