(NBC News) - Some of your co-workers may seem a little furrier on Friday.
It's national Take Your Dog To Work Day, an idea conceived by Pet Sitters International as a way to promote animal adoption.
There is a growing amount of research on the health benefits of the special bond pets and people share. Some studies suggest animals may help ease depression and emotional disorders, especially in women and the elderly.
"Pets have really been shown to increase mobility and activity, improve a sense of well-being and for a sub-population population of Alzheimer's patients to really decrease emotional and angry outbursts," notes Dr. Barbara Sherman of North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine.
Dogs' ability to connect with humans emotionally increases feel-good chemicals in our brains and may promote healing. Canine nurses can also be found comforting those in nursing homes and easing anxiety in cancer patients.
Some research also indicates pets may help protect kids against asthma and allergies.
"There have been some really exciting new findings on the role of dogs and maybe what comes with dogs which is a little bit of hair and a little bit of dirt coming in on their paws, and actually creating that kind of rich environment that allow children to build up their immune systems," Sherman explains.