They wrestle, they howl, and they race through the halls, but — with 35 full-time employees and seven dogs (and counting!) — we couldn't imagine Explo without them. Pups, here are seven lessons we've learned from you.
Focus on the Simple Things
"I think the people at Explo are one of the most fantastic things about working in this office, and the fact that they bring their lovely, friendly, and silly dogs in as well just makes things even better," Leah Walpuck, Explo Admission Officer, says. "Dogs are always a good reminder to appreciate the little things and find small joys in life. They make our days a little brighter."
Take Your Work Seriously (But Not Yourself)
If there's one distinctive sound that starts off each day at Explo Headquarters, it's this: the rapid-fire staccato of paws pounding the carpet down the building's back hallway. Long enough for a good sprint and wide enough so the dogs can run side-by-side, the back hallway sprint is a great way to let off some steam and be silly, for humans and dogs alike.
Make the Workplace (Even More) Fun
"Even if I don't have Reggie with me," Barb Trainor, Explo's Director of Curriculum and Instruction, says, "I love hearing Cooper running around in his office upstairs. Having them here just makes this office feel so much less like an office. They help make it joyful and fun, and if we can't have kids here with us every day, dogs are the next best thing."
Networking is Important
As much as the dogs may enjoy wandering and investigating every corner of the office — and the people in them — we relish visiting with one another even more, getting our puppy (and human) fix on the regular. It's not only a great way to break up the day, but it's often the more relaxed, unplanned meetups and encounters which generate the most creative and fruitful ideas.
Always Consider Another's Perspective
"What I love about dogs," David Torcoletti, Head of Programs at Explo at Wheaton, says, "is that they aren't neck-up, meaning they're not intellectual beings. They communicate differently than we do, and you have to watch for non-verbal hints, just as you do with a young child, in order to understand what they need and want. Caring for dogs increases our empathy, and they just lighten the mood."
Exercise is Non-Negotiable
If you're a dog, whether or not you're going to go out for a walk is a given. The only questions are what time are we heading out and for how long. Morning walks and afternoon breaks take place at the dogs' (and owners') leisure, but the one walk that is collectively revered and adhered to happens at lunch.
This is the big one, the one where — despite the fact that they're tethered by leash to their owners — dogs get to explore the town, greeting strangers, sniffing sidewalks, and jockeying for position in the pack lineup. As much a social endeavor as it is an athletic one, a lunchtime walk benefits everyone, human and canine alike.
Every Day is an Awesome Day
Everyone has them — the days where the frustrating bits outweigh the rewarding ones, and where the delete button would be great if it only came in an "erase-and-reset life" version. But with the patter of furry feet often comes the thing you need the most: perspective. It's a moment when you look away from your screen, your project, or your hair-pulling task of the day, and instead focus on the blur of fur that's angling for an ear scratch or — even better — a game of fetch.
So you stop, you pet, you play, and in a matter of minutes, you start to feel better. You do reset, but not in the way you had planned, or even the way you thought you needed. What comes next is infinitely better — for you, for the dog, and even for whatever it is you're working on. No day is perfect, but with dogs around to remind you of what's really important, it doesn't need to be.
So, do we think bringing dogs to work is a good idea? You bet your fur-covered pants legs we do.
Instagram Photo Credits
Photos of Ellie (1), Cooper (2), Reggie (4), and Jackie (5) by Explo Admission Officer Leah Walpuck.
Photo of Kenneth (3) by Explo Curriculum Developer Kielynne Banker.
Photo of Rosie (6) by David Torcoletti, Explo at Wheaton's Head of Programs.
Photo of Lexi (7) by Explo Fabrication Specialist Ben Greer.