Unleash the Hounds of Ambrosia

Posted Jun 26 2009, 07:54 PM

As you may have correctly surmised, Ambrosia is not your typical work environment. This is evident from the very moment a visitor walks into the office and is first accosted loudly by Hector and, within seconds, barraged by a pack of dogs.

I know what you're thinking, and no, this isn't some sexist knock at my male coworkers -- come on, give my creative mind a little more credit than that. When visitors enter our office, they are quite literally tackled by the most adorable mob of tail-wagging, tongue-lolling happy pets to ever slide across a hardwood floor. The tornado, in the rare instance it is not tearing haphazardly through the office, actually consists of anywhere between one and four of our dogs at any given time. Sure, we could probably leave our furry friends at home every day, but then how would we annoy the cat people in the office?!

Shamelessly, I am introducing my favorite dog first. That, of course, is my Treeing Walker Coonhound, Mr. Rigsby. He is the epitome of his breed; he is LOUD, awkward, and has an out-of-this-world sense of smell. Mr. Rigsby is a hunting dog that lives in the city and belongs to a vegetarian -- wonder why he's so confused all the time...

I came across this goofy hound dog in, of all places, a Wal-Mart parking lot (bread, garden hose, feral dog...). Based on the big blisters on his paddies, his appetite for grass, and the enthusiasm he showed about jumping in a car with strangers, I was left to assume he'd been hanging around there for a while. I reported him found to the dog warden, and put a great deal of personal effort into finding his "owners," but after almost a month we had bonded too much and Kat, the sworn cat person, was now a dog mom. While I'll never know where he came from, what his first name is (hence, the Mr.), or why he was abandoned (I have some sneaking suspicions!), I will always consider him one of my best lot scores and have thoroughly loved and spoiled him over the course of our first year together.

This innocent-looking beast is Miss Daisy Mae, David's pretty pet. She is half Ridgeback, one quarter American Bulldog, and one quarter Black Mouth Cur. She is a tiny puppy stuck in a 65 lb. body -- or at least she thinks so. When you see Daisy headed at you full bore, your choices are head for high ground, or end up on the ground because, man, is she ever enthusiastic!

Daisy was flown to Rochester the evening before we left the Macworld Expo in January, and David was like a kid before Christmas knowing he was returning home to his puppy dog. Since her arrival, Daisy has been at Ambrosia just about every day; her big feet padding heavily into our offices, her whole butt moving with her lion-like tail, to get belly rubs and ear scratches as often as she pleases. In spite of her burly exterior and strong will, Daisy Mae is an incredibly sweet and well-behaved pup who loves to play (or kill, whichever comes first).

Phineas, John's Boston Terrier, is another dog who spends a great deal of time in the office. Often he can be found sleeping in his mesh crate next to John's desk, making strange warbling noises at the other dogs, or chewing things that Hector drops off her perch. Although he may look cuddly and adorable, which he most definitely can be, Phineas is a real force to be reckoned with. In an office full of large beasts who don't know their own strength, Phin's year and a half of wisdom is generally his saving grace; allowing him to outwit the rest of the menagerie and protect his buggy little alien face. On top of that, while most of the big dogs think they are cute and little, Phineas is a Mastiff in his own mind, which leaves him with no fear and the ego he needs to hold his own.

John adopted Phineas from a family who had small children and could no longer care properly for him. Fortunately for both of them, Phin and John's lifestyles are strikingly similar. For example, John likes going to the bar, Phin loves eating food off the floor of the bar; John likes to browse the Internet, Phin likes to sleep under the fan on his Mac. The similarities could go on, including the obsession they both seem to have with promptly removing the squeeky part from stuffed toys with their teeth.

Delilah (on right, at right) is a pretty puppy we don't see nearly enough in the Ambrosia office -- namely because she is HUGE! Delilah is Evan's 7 month old "Boerdanego," half Boerboel, quarter Great Dane, and quarter Dogo Argentino. She's earned such nicknames as Freight Train, Meathead and Miss Moose. When she's not letting herself out of her crate or digging 2 foot deep holes in the backyard, she enjoys devouring flip flops, toast tongs, sunglasses, cardboard boxes, and ladies' underwear. She is one of three dogs at the Smith family zoo, the other two are Ziggy, a 2 year old Cairn Terrier, and Schatzi, a 14 year old Miniature Dachshund. Of course, as the youngest of the bunch, Delilah takes full advantage of her adorableness and is very convincing that she can do no wrong ... as she runs out of the room with your shoe in her mouth.

<-- Logan is the most recent addition to the Ambrosia family. Although, at about 7 months, he is the same age as Daisy Mae, he only recently made the trek up from Tennessee to join his owner Rudy in their new digs. Logan is a purebred Boxer and has the sad little face to prove it! He spends most of his days being the bane of his owner's existence and seems entirely unashamed of that fact, as he pees on the floor then climbs proudly into Rudy's bed with the "what??" look on his face. Logan is generally quiet, like Rudy, but seems to enjoy people a lot more.

Rarely seen around the office is Jake's dog Riley. Although it would take some extensive DNA testing to prove it, Riley is likely a Terrier-Chihuahua mix found (yes, shockingly!) on the Internet. Riley's previous owners were unable to take care of him and, being the humanitarians they are, Jake and his girlfriend couldn't resist the little guy. Riley seems confused whether he's a cat or dog, and can often be seen playing with cat toys or his own food. He enjoys going upstairs (not down) and was terrified recently when a chipmunk took up residence in the walls of Jake's house.

Next up we have el' Presidente's furry minions (again, not making jokes at my coworkers expenses, come on!) Aya and Kumba. Aya is a two year old purebred Weimaraner with an affinity for all that is repulsive and wrong. Some of her greatest accomplishments are unpublishable, but her nickname is "rimdog," and that should give some inkling of her agenda. She is a real princess and, as such, will only sleep on leather couches or downy pillows of the finest silks. She enjoys eating anything Andrew eats and generally manages herself a good portion of it.

Kumba is a rescue dog, a Malinois mutt who is likely around 5 years old. Kumba takes after his master, assuming the alpha-dog role in any situation. He knows what he likes and he doesn't want to share it, especially with any of the crazy puppies around here! According to Andrew, both Kumba and Aya spend a significant amount of time hunting for buried treasure in his backyard, and he seems fairly certain that when they find it, he will be able to use it to pay for the grass he has been perpetually reseeding.

Our west coast outpost has its own furry mascot - Portland-based marketing director Thomas' 10 year old mostly German Shepherd, Laika. Her mom was all Shepherd, and dad is 50/50 Shepherd/Rottweiler. She enjoys frisbees, swimming, can smell a treat from 50 paces, and thinks her advanced age and giant ears mean you need to give it to her, pronto. She's adept at opening doors and eating anything food-like that may be behind them. Despite her penchant for snacking, she keeps her girlish figure by running to and from work every day with Thomas and chasing the family cat, Hank (who it should be noted thinks he's a dog, but that's another story).

Sure, our dogs may drive us crazy at times; but at the end of the day the truth is that we are a staff only our pets could love!

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