All InterNations team members are friendly, but some are definitely friendlier and fluffier than the rest! Senior Content & Communications Manager Elena, a self-declared dog person, introduces the four-legged members of our staff.
Did you know that taking your dog to the office has a positive effect on your health — even on that of your colleagues? According to the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, pets help to make the work experience less stressful. Employees who bring their own dogs to work or who just work at a pet-friendly office show reduced levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. The frequent walks and dog-cuddle breaks also boost motivation and creativity.
Luckily, we have quite a few dog owners at InterNations, and so we benefit from having a playful pup visiting us at our desks, demanding a belly rub, or nudging us with their cold nose.
Of course, we want to ensure a safe and happy environment for both the office dogs and the humans working at InterNations. Our company dog policy establishes certain rules, from how to deal with damage caused by our furry friends to their general behavior and noise. During a mandatory onboarding session with our feel good manager Denise, dog owners learn more about the guidelines and discuss their responsibilities. For instance, they have to walk their dogs at least once during lunch time (and whenever they need a bathroom break or get too restless).
Meet our honorary, four-legged team members, who brighten up our workdays at InterNations.
The Frequent Visitor: Meet “Queen” Mirabell
Aptly nicknamed “Queen Mirabell” by a former intern, the long-haired, miniature dachshund has become a permanent member of the InterNations team since she visited us for the first time about 1.5 years ago.
At ten years, she is one of our older office dogs and also the only one that does not actually belong to an InterNations team member. Her owner Lindsey is, unfortunately, not allowed to take the little dachshund to her own workplace and didn’t want her to stay home alone all day. Luckily, Mirabell brings a lot of cuteness to our Munich office and is always welcome to visit us.
Our feel good manager Denise picks her up from her human about once or twice a week and takes care of her throughout the day. Mirabell likes walking from room to room in the morning to say hi to every team member or to greet us in the hallway. After spending some time at InterNations, she has even given up her habit of barking whenever the doorbell rings.
Her favorite activity is eating, but when it comes to her favorite foods, Mirabell is a bit of a gourmet. “She loves peanut butter and cheese,” Lindsey points out. It’s very fitting that, with her black-and-brown fur, she was named after the dark chocolate and nougat in a Mozartkugel, a traditional Austrian confection produced by the company Mirabell. She’s definitely so sweet, we could eat her right up!
The Rescue Puppy: Meet Mogli
When InterNations team member Lauren adopted Mogli, he was just a little puppy. She met him eleven years ago, when she was still in college and volunteered at an animal shelter in rural Georgia.
“On my first day, I met a poor flea-ridden puppy who had been viciously abused by his previous owner and left in a field to starve.” Unfortunately, nobody came to give little Mogli a new home, and the animal shelter would only keep pets for a limited time before euthanizing them. “On his final day, they called me and said I could have him,” Lauren tells us. “I was walking to class at the time, and I remember shouting, ‘I’m coming right now!’”
Bringing Mogli to Germany was no easy feat. “It took hours of paperwork, vet visits, and even resulted in Ohio’s Department of Agriculture teaming up with Munich Airport to get some time-sensitive documents ready.”
Today, Mogli has fully settled into the life of a working dog and is a happy full-timer at InterNations. He has visited the InterNations office almost every day this summer, and during meetings, he just likes to find the perfect spot to settle in for a long nap.
Although, at eleven years of age, Mogli is one of our more mature office dogs, spending time at the office, getting treats and belly rubs from various team members, and simply being around people puts “a bit more pep in his step”, as Lauren puts it. And the team appreciates Mogli’s presence as well: there’s just something so joyful about having a happy little pooch with a wagging tail greeting you after a meeting.
The Youngster: Meet Chacho
Chacho is a shelter dog from Slovakia, who has lived with InterNations team member Danielle for about five months now. He’s a mixed breed, and looking at his long body, pricked ears, and characteristic coloring, we suspect he probably has inherited some dachshund and corgi genes. At only eight months, Chacho still likes to play a lot, especially with Mio and Mogli (who actually just wants to chill).
He lives close to the office and likes to visit after his morning walk. Although Chacho is still a little scared of strangers and often barks at them, he has also made some friends. InterNations team member Michael, one of his biggest fans, has even taught him some tricks.
Still, having the canine equivalent of an excitable kid around wasn’t all that easy at first: Chacho wasn’t potty-trained yet, so everyone had to pay close attention to him to figure out when he needed a “bathroom break”. He also caused some damage in the beginning when he chewed through a computer cable, but luckily things have improved greatly since then. “He got used to office life pretty well,” Danielle says. “Nowadays, he only gets a little overexcited at times.”
His training is going quite well. And with Danielle being British and her boyfriend hailing from Spain, Chacho — short for muchacho, the Spanish word for “boy, young man, dude” — is becoming a true polyglot. He knows all the basic commands in several languages, but he’ll only give his paw if asked in Spanish. His humans also bought a wand at Disney World and are trying to teach him Harry-Potter-themed tricks with it (such as “playing dead” when he hears “Avada Kedavra”, the evil killing curse) — but Chacho hasn’t quite seen the point in this yet.
If you want to get to know Chacho better, you can even follow him on his own Instagram account!
The Shy One: Meet Mio
Mio is another mixed breed sharing the office with us. He is part of the same team as Chacho, who is also one of his favorite buddies to play with.
Although Mio lives in Stuttgart most of the time, InterNations team member Jasmine takes care of him about one week per month, taking him to the office every day whenever he’s in Munich. This is an exciting time — both for her co-workers who love playing and cuddling with Mio and for the two-year-old furball who is used to getting a lot of exercise. Jasmine walks him in the morning and evening, as well as taking him to nearby Theresienwiese during her lunch break, where he can run around and make friends with other dogs.
Jasmine has been bringing Mio to the office for a few months now. In the beginning, he was a bit nervous about meeting new people, but he has become used to the InterNations environment and is now friendly with everyone.
Jasmine’s family has two dogs, and she had always wanted to own one herself. So, after moving to Germany, she started looking for a shelter dog. Her husband, on the other hand, wasn’t much of a dog person at first. He was worried about the responsibility and the mess that a dog might make, “but then I somehow convinced him,” Jasmine says, or maybe Mio’s puppy eyes did. They adopted him from a private shelter near Stuttgart.
Jasmine’s team is certainly excited: they all love dogs, and with both Mio and Chacho visiting them regularly, they have plenty of opportunites to enjoy their company.
The Porto Pup: Meet Cuíca
Not only our Munich office is blessed with fluffy, furry friends. Cuíca, a sassy little beagle, visits the InterNations Go! office in Porto about once a week, at least when it’s not raining, and team members from Xing’s Porto office bring their own dogs for her to play with.
Her owner Mariana is very happy that she can bring Cuíca to work. “She is a mini-Hulk,” Mariana says. “She destroys things non-stop, so I’d rather keep her occupied than have her stay home alone ruining the couch.” Fortunately, Cuíca got accustomed to office life very quickly. She loves the huge open space of the new Porto office building, the people who give her treats or teach her tricks, and the big garden where she can run around and blow off some steam.
The story of Cuíca ’s name is a rather creative one: When Mariana stayed in Rio de Janeiro on a student exchange program in 2011, samba and pagode became her favorite types of music. The cuíca, an African drum that was brought to Brazil in the 1930s, is an instrument that plays a big role in this kind of traditional music. When Mariana returned to Rio years after her initial stay, just hearing the music made her feel so emotional and nostalgic that she decided to name her dog after the drum.
Cuíca has just celebrated her first birthday and is only one of several sweet office dogs in Porto. Aside from the happiness she and her canine pals bring to work, they also get their humans to socialize more. As Mariana puts it: “Dogs help to bring people together that you normally wouldn’t talk to in the work environment.”
Image credits: iStockphoto / private