Pets at work
Missing pet python prompts Google search
April 4, 2007 - 11:38AM
Google might have to rethink its policy of encouraging employees to
bring their pets to work, after a python went missing in its New York
office over the weekend.
The metre-long snake remained on the loose until Monday evening, when it
was found, ironically, not by the search experts themselves but by the
The grey and brown python, named Kaiser, which is not venomous, was
brought to work by its snake-obsessed owner and kept in a cage.
Google encourages its employees to bring their pets to the office, and
even has an official "dog policy" (
http://investor.google.com/conduct-dog.html). Other types of pets are
allowed but permission must first be obtained from management.
On Sunday, Google staff received an email, mistaken by some as an April
Fool's joke, notifying them of the missing snake.
"Over the weekend, a pet snake belonging to a Googler was released from
its cage in a 4th floor cubicle near the Tech Stop," the email read.
"Our exterminator, with Google's security team and the snake's owner are
searching for it. Should you see the snake, please do not attempt to
touch it or pick it up. Call security immediately."
Another email was sent out on Monday informing staff the snake was still
missing, and Google stepped up its search by plastering posters around
the building containing a picture of the snake below the heading "Have
you seen me?".
Dan Bentley, a Google software engineer, described the atmosphere on the
company's official blog: "Monday morning in the office, we react. Some
laugh, some debate whether it is actually a joke, and some stand away
from walls and corners. At least one considers buying rubber snakes en
masse. The bathrooms have slightly fewer occupants than usual."
By late Monday evening, Kaiser had been found by security and returned
to its owner.
"After consultations with a herpetology expert at the American Museum of
Natural History, our team of Google security and concerned volunteers
located Kaiser relaxing behind a cabinet earlier this evening, and he
was returned safely home with his owner," read an email sent to staff at
Google is renowned for its relaxed company culture and generous employee
benefits program. Aside from being able to bring their pets to work,
staff also enjoy free food from stocked-up snack rooms, massages,
complimentary ski trips and yoga classes.
This year, Google topped the Fortune list of the 100 best places to work
in the US.
A spokesman for the company was being sought for comment on whether the
open door policy for pets would change in light of the missing python