This work week started off hectic, as most do. But soon our frowns were turned upside down thanks to a visit from Atlantic County Animal Shelter. We got to cuddle a couple of six week old puppies resulting in instant happiness. And it's no coincidence. Research shows there are benefits to having animals in the workplace.

In fact, a study by Virginia Commonwealth University showed that employees who bring their dogs to work produced lower levels of the stress-causing hormone cortisol.

Anne Marie DeLa Rosa, who works for a software company in Indianapolis told USA Today that bringing her pet to work encouraged her to take regular lunches and walk breaks.

Deb Havill, a clinical social worker and therapist, reinforced DeLa Rosa's feelings explaining that 'touching or petting an animal has been shown to lower the galvanic skin response much like the science behind the polygraph test, when measuring feelings such as fear, stress or anxiety.', according to USA Today.

INC. also reports that allowing pets in the workplace has long been seen as 'key employee benefit', as well as an amusement. One that can improve morale and reduce stress-related ailments like heart disease and diabetes.

So it's not just the cuteness factor! Having animals at work, even just a visit from your local shelter or a communal hamster or guinea pig, could offer incentive to show up and be your best!

Special thanks to Kathy Kelsea of Atlantic County Animal Shelter for bringing adorable puppies Feta and Cheddar to visit! To explore pet adoptions, click here.

SOURCES: USA Today, INC., Virginia Commonwealth University