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Namasté Solar's Office Dogs

Posted by Namasté Solar on Mar 20, 2017

Everyone's favorite holistic compensation at Namasté Solar is the dogs that come to the Boulder and Denver offices everyday. "There's always been dogs here," said Teri Lema, Namasté Solar's Human Resources Specialist, who has been with the company since 2006. Shortly after getting married, co-founder Blake Jones bought a puppy, and (after getting it peer-reviewed, in true Namasté Solar democratic-management style) started bringing her to work.

Soon others followed suit, and "puppy dogs would just wrestle and play" in the hallways, said Lema. "There were no rules, though sometimes one of them would have to be in time-out in the dog kennel in the warehouse. It was kind of a free-for-all, but we really just liked the concept of coming to work with your dog." 

"Now we look back and know that was not okay," said Lema. "Nobody was getting hurt, but [dogs] get used to doing what they want, and that isn't appropriate here, sort of like, save that for the park."

Once Namasté Solar moved its Boulder office to Broadway Street, a brand-new space with new carpets and furniture, a committee was founded to determine policies for keeping the building clean. The committee decided to subject dogs to a "Canine Good Citizen" test administered by Lema, which tested for things like separation anxiety, getting along with other dogs, and the possibility of barking at a stranger (like a potential customer) in the office. Those who knew their dogs wouldn't pass simply stopped bringing them to the office, minimizing the number of poorly behaved dogs. 

The Canine Good Citizen test is no longer required for introducing new dogs because people have done so responsibly, only bringing in their dog if they know it won't cause problems. Changing locations when we did and implementing new policies at that time, Lema said, helped reduce the sense of "'anyone can bring their dog' entitlement, and now we have a nine-year precedent of dogs behaving in this office." 

Having dogs in the office hasn't always been easy. There was the time that Jones' puppy (aptly named Sunny) had eaten three tube socks, and vomited all over the company's first office on Spruce Street. In the new Broadway Street location, an outdoor kennel (that has since been replaced with parking spaces for the rapidly expanding office) once blew open during a Big Picture Meeting, sending dogs (and their owners after them) across the busy street. 

But for the most part, having dogs around everyday is something Namastaliens appreciate. "Everybody that I chat with, even applicants, really love the aspect of working with animals," said Lema. "It makes my life coming into the office really special, and it's one of the things I cherish about being here."

The dogs that are most frequently in the Boulder and Denver offices are profiled below. A huge thank you to their humans for bringing them in, and for helping fill out the details of their profiles.


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Dog name: Theodore

Age: 2.5 years – a young pup in his prime!

Human companion: Katie Buchanan, Accounting Clerk (Boulder office)

How long has he been coming to work with you? Just a couple months.

How often does he come to work with you? Once in a blue moon.

Have you always brought him to work? No – he's hyper and protective so I wanted to slowly introduce him to the environment and other dogs. It seems to be going well!

Funny story about him? Theodore's full name is Theodore Ice Water, which is one of aliases of Ghostface Killah (of WuTang Clan).

What's your favorite thing about having your dog come to work? Getting to be with him!

What's his favorite thing about coming to work? Getting to be with me! (Duh.)

Do you wish other animals could be in the office, too? My human daughter, Callia.

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Dog name: Rex-a-million Kettler

Age: 10 years

Human companion: Hannah Hamontree, Marketing & Communications Director (Boulder office)

How long has he been coming to work with you? Rex has been employed at Namasté Solar since 2014.

How often does he come to work with you? Every day.

Have you always brought him to work? Yes. Rex is a very social guy, he loves being a part of everyone's day-to-day saying hi, stealing a sun patch to sleep in, greeting visitors, playing with anyone who is willing...he truly loves coming to work each day.

Funny story about him? Rex was a giant-headed puppy dog, and his head was so heavy that he would often tip forward and fall on his face due to the size of his giant head on his little body.

What's your favorite thing about having your dog come to work? How happy he is and how happy he makes others.

What's his favorite thing about coming to work? Like all of us here at Namasté Solar, Rex comes to work every day because of the people.

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Dog name: Deena

Age: 8.5 years

Human companion: Sam Mason, Commercial Technical Designer (Boulder office)

How long has she been coming to work with you? 5 years.

How often does she come to work with you? Every day.

Have you always brought her to work? Yes, I asked during my interview process to make sure there was a dog policy.

Funny story about her? Deena was the last companion of an old woman I never met named Donna, who lived in upstate NY. When Donna was taken into hospice care, her daughter enlisted the help of a group of friends to help take care of Deena, who was then essentially couch surfing between three houses. Every week for about a year and a half, she would do overnight visits with Donna and come home frenetic, spoiled, and groomed – sometimes with a pink tail. After Donna passed Deena was ours, and has traveled just about everywhere with me since: MA, VT, all over NY, and finally to CO.

What's your favorite thing about having your dog come to work? Deena reminds me to go out and play.

What's her favorite thing about coming to work? Treat time with the Finance Team, hug time with Teri, and pretending to protect me from Rex.

Do you wish other animals could be in the office, too? Other dogs, yes!

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Dog name: Casper

Age: 6 years

Human companion: Jason Brown, IT Coordinator (Boulder office)

How long has he been coming to work with you? Just 2 weeks.

How often does he come to work with you? Once a week.

Have you always brought him to work? I did bring my previous dog in a few times, but she was only happy if she was on my lap.

Funny story about him? We went to an adoption event for a different dachshund, but happened to meet Casper and walked him around while looking for the other dog. Casper was super chill and the other dog was incredible clingy and needy, so we decided the chill dude was going to be a better match.

What's your favorite thing about having your dog come to work? Knowing that he's happy and not alone for the day.

What's his favorite thing about coming to work? Sitting on my lap.

Do you wish other animals could be in the office, too? Yes.

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Dog name: Colby

Age: 3 years

Human companion: Taz Romine-Mann, Fleet & Facilities Coordinator (Denver office)

How long has she been coming to work with you? 1 year.

How often does she come to work with you? 2-3 days a week.

Have you always brought her to work? I have brought her since I started working for Namasté Solar. I love having her in the office and she loves being here with everyone.

Funny story about her? Colby is a lab/border collie mix. She once "herded" a deer to me on a walk in the woods. She ran off and after about 10 minutes, I heard this crashing that I thought was her coming back. But then a deer walked out of the woods, looking very harried and confused, and Colby a couple steps behind, looking very proud of herself.

What's your favorite thing about having your dog come to work? Everything.

What's her favorite thing about coming to work? All the treats and attention!

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Dog name: Camo

Age: 2.5 years

Human companion: Joe Montoya, Residential Sales Director (Denver office)

How long has he been coming to work with you? Half a year.

How often does he come to work with you? Once in a blue moon.

Have you always brought him to work? I used to bring my old dog into the office quite often. Camo, because he is a rescue, he is still learning proper office etiquette.

Funny story about him? We adopted Camo after he made his home under our deck at our remote cabin this past summer. Once we realized he did not have an actual home, we decided to bring him to Denver and see if he would adapt to the city life. So far, he is loving life and as excited as ever.

What's your favorite thing about having your dog come to work? Having a pal who gets others perked up is nice – Camo seems to get people excited.

What's his favorite thing about coming to work? The answer is everything: endless belly rubs, occasional fetch, treats, and attention.

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Dog name: Jack (short for Jumping Jack Flash)

Age: Not sure, he was a rescue. 7?

Human companion: Jason Sharpe, General Manager (Denver office)

How long has he been coming to work with you? 4 years.

How often does he come to work with you? Once in a blue moon.

Have you always brought him to work? Yes, but rarely.

Funny story about him? I love to ride my 1954 beach cruiser bicycle to work, and Jack likes to sit in the wicker basket on the handle bars. He also loves to cuddle in bed, especially in the morning.

What's your favorite thing about having your dog come to work? He joins me in many meetings and likes to sit on my lap, or other people's if I'm facilitating the meeting. It helps me and the group relax to have him cuddled on a lap.

What's his favorite thing about coming to work? He loves to run around and say hi to everyone. I think he just likes being included.

Do you wish other animals could be in the office, too? Yes.

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Dog name: Ray (Radar, Rayban, Raymond, Ray Snarls, LL Cool Ray, Sweet Baby Ray, etc.)

Age: 1 and a half

Human companion: Sam Forney, Warehouse Coordinator (Denver office)

How long has he been coming to work with you? Since he was adopted last March!

How often does he come to work with you? Once a week.

Have you always brought him to work? I try to bring him as much as I can, but since he is white and warehouses are inevitably dirty, it always shows up on his coat!

Funny story about him? Ray is a funny little guy. He cracks me up on a daily basis. If there is one thing that makes me laugh the most, it's how excited he gets when he sees a bug. I still haven't figured out if he thinks they are tiny dogs or if he just wants to eat them, but he starts wagging his tail and jumping around whenever he spots one.

What's your favorite thing about having your dog come to work? He is always so excited to see EVERYONE so he puts you in a good mood. The installers love seeing him in the mornings and always ask where he is.

What's his favorite thing about coming to work? Once the installers leave for the day, he gets to run around the warehouse while I work. Most of the day, I'll have him tied to his leash and he can go outside and watch over the neighborhood. Ray protects the warehouse! Watch out, skateboarders – he does NOT like you! 

Do you wish other animals could be in the office, too? Yes.

 

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