5 min read

Dec. 1, 2022

Dogs at work: Meet the puppers of AWS

There are more than 8,000 dogs registered with Amazon and AWS's Dogs at Work program in North America, and countless pups around the world who join their humans at home or corporate offices.

Written by Life at AWS team

When Amazon Web Services (AWS) software developer Steven Williams wants to pause for a break in between projects, he'll head over to the internal Slack channel called Amazon Puppers Chat where Amazon employees post pictures of their dogs.
With nearly 13,000 members as of November 2022, there's never a shortage of new photos to peruse of dogs being dogs.
"I browse this channel throughout the day. Seeing everyone with their dogs and the love that goes out for every pup can really brighten your mood," Williams said. "I, of course, also like to share pictures of my own (fur) babies."
In North America., many Amazon and AWS offices are part of a program called Dogs at Work—also known as the Woof Pack—which allows employees to register their dogs and bring them to work in select dog-friendly corporate office buildings. The program has more than 8,000 registered dogs and an active events schedule open to all employees. Events include everything from virtual dog treat baking classes to ask-a-veterinarian seminars to street fairs featuring dog pools, doggie swag, and agility courses.
As many AWS and Amazon employees have switched to working remotely since the pandemic, there are more and more "office dogs" making appearances on video calls. The Life at AWS team caught up with some of our dog-obsessed builders from around the world to meet their pups and find out more about the dog culture here at AWS.

An AWS doggie match made in heaven

Meg Larson, left, and Rachel Moose, right, became friends at AWS thanks to their love of dogs.

Meg Larson welcomed her labrador retriever mix, Dottie, into her life over the summer after rescuing her from an organization in New York City, but she credits her dream adoption pup to AWS.

"I was looking to rescue a dog and mentioned this to a few new colleagues at a new-hire happy hour in July.," Larson said. "One of them mentioned there was another new hire who couldn’t make it to the happy hour because she was fostering a dog , and she would put the two of us in touch. Enter fellow Amazonian and rescue foster mom extraordinaire Rachel Moose."

Larson shared the characteristics she desired in a new pup: the dog should be a medium-to-large retriever who loved humans, walks, other dogs, and met the 50-pound weight limit for Larson's apartment building. Dottie, who was then called Scrabble, was the perfect match.

"She’s such a gentle, sweet pup and I’m so excited to be able to give her the world! So much about her story felt like it was meant to be and I’m so in love with her. Additional perk: I not only got a pup, I also gained a new friend who’s as obsessed with Dottie as I am."

Meg Larson
business operations lead, AWS vertical industry operations
New York

How important is work flexibility to you as a dog owner?

Dottie, labrador retriever mix
Favorite treat: Himalayan yak chew or a peanut butter-filled Kong, and socks

"The flexibility to work from home has been huge for me. I’ve been considering rescuing a dog for a long time, but wanted to make sure that I would have flexibility to work from home so I could devote enough time to the dog. I come in to the office 1-2 times per week, so I get plenty of time to work from home with Dottie. We're still working on some basic training so I haven't brought her into the office yet."

Meg Larson
business operations led, AWS vertical industry operations
New York

“Dogs are welcomed and loved at AWS. That's the kind of place you want to work!”

Dottie and Thor
AWS dogs

Thor, corgi-yellow labrador mix
Favorite treat: anything salmon- or beef-flavored.

"It’s a huge perk and a major contributing factor as to why I decided to take the job with AWS. Since the pandemic, Thor and I are pretty attached and we like to do things and go places together. I love having the option of taking him into the office with me. I can go into the office for a change of scenery without feeling guilty or like I need to rush home to check on Thor and provide him with activities and exercise. And he gets more socialization time by meeting new people."

Rachel Moose
technical curriculum developer, AWS training & certification
New York

Leopold "Leo," pomeranian
Favorite treat: cheese

“Leo is my work-from-home buddy. We honestly would likely not have gotten a dog at all without the option to have a flexible schedule as the idea of leaving Leo home all day or needing to rely on a walking service daily was not appealing at all. I'm very excited to bring Leo into the office more as my team transitions to a more hybrid setup, but it's been really great working at home with him. I love that AWS offers this as a perk. I see Leo as an important member of our family and being able to have a flexible schedule or bring him to the office with me is really wonderful and thoughtful."

Erin Morelli
front-end engineer II, AWS DataSync

"It’s really important for me. I’m working from home and can spend all day doing work while watching my dogs. If I need to be in the office, I know I’m able to bring my dogs with me, which is extremely important because they’ll never feel lonely. I appreciate AWS for giving us this flexibility."

Kate Shydlovska
software development engineer, AWS billing and invoicing
Austin, Texas

mrHulk and BigMac, Boston terriers
Favorite treat:

Eli, maltipoo
Favorite treat: handmade pumpkin cookies

"I usually work from home so I have flexibility to take them out for a walk in the morning, feed and play with them before work. It is important for me to be able to have flexibility to work from home along side with my puppies for balancing work life harmony and stress relief purpose. Having that option makes me think that AWS is empowering employees work life harmony and respect employees' choice to be the Earth's best employer!"

Yukiko Maeda
human resources partner, AWS builder's experience team

How is your dog present throughout your day?

Bear, English bulldog
Favorite treat: strawberries

"After our morning walk, Bear helps me with my work by sleeping (and snoring) somewhere within five feet of my desk. He always goes out of his way to wake up at noon to graciously remind me to eat and share a snack with him by pawing at my chair. After lunch, Bear will demonstrate his endurance by chewing a bone or toy for about an hour before falling back asleep for the remainder of the afternoon."

Kristin Tortorice
associate engagement manager, AWS ProServe
Santa Monica, Calif.

"They are with me throughout the entire day. We go out for breaks in the backyard multiple times per day and there is usually at least one “cheese break” where I will have them do some tricks for me in exchange for the much-desired prize of a piece of string cheese. If the weather permits, sometimes we will take a walk through our neighborhood after work. My wife works from home as a dog groomer, so often there are other pups in the house they get to meet and interact with throughout the day."

Steven Williams
software development engineer II, AWS new hire experience team
Azula, standard poodle
Favorite treat: thawed out Bil-Jac frozen dog food

Mr. Finnegan "Finn" McTrouble, shelter mutt—mostly dachsund, with some other stuff
Favorite treat: peanut butter

"Working from home is a gift for a lot of reasons, but I appreciate having him here to keep me company. We try and sneak out for a walk around 10, and maybe again around 2, but meetings/work often get in the way. Mostly, he just sleeps on a beanbag next to my desk. He should have been named “Constant Distraction” because even when he's sleeping I can’t resist bugging him with belly scratches."

Geordie McGarty
external training program manager, AWS support
Washington state

Hanna, husky
Favorite treat: lettuce

"If dog is an important component of your life, Amazon is the best choice as an employer. The first time I visited Seattle, I was amazed by the dog culture for that entire city. Amazon’s headquarters are there and I think the people at Amazon influence the whole city to be extremely dog friendly. What a great way to show our love to our pups."

Xinxuan Che
research scientist
Arlington, Va.

"Typically, I can just sit with them at my desk. The office vibe is very relaxed, my coworkers love petting them. I keep a baby gate at my desk so my cubicle can be a little play pen for them. I also keep a dog bed at my desk and try to bring in some toys that aren’t very loud. I take them for a walk at noon and at 3 p.m.—it’s a good excuse to get away from the screen and stretch my legs.

Luke Gentle
software development engineer, AWS infrastructure security

Noodle, pembroke Welsh corgi
Favorite treat:
peanut butter

Gnocchi, pembroke Welsh corgi
Favorite treat: peanut butter

Kara, border collie
Favorite treat: Frisbee (not very food driven and a picky eater)

“I take her for a jog early in the morning to get her tired. She sleeps by my feet while I work, follows me everywhere when I get up from the desk, and gets excited every time I say “bye” in a meeting and shut down the screen of the laptop. I love being able to bring her to the office. The alternative is to have her home alone for more hours than I would be comfortable with, or finding a dog sitter, which is very inconvenient. All of my colleagues have been very welcoming of my dog at work—the culture is very dog-friendly."

Ansh Bahri
software engineer in test, AWS low code and no-code apps

What does working for a dog-friendly employer mean to you?

Joanna "JoJo," keeshond, pictured with her AWS human Amber Walcker
Favorite treat: RedBarn Bully slices

"The ability to work from home was discussed during my interview process. JoJo has really bad anxiety, so having the flexibility to work from home is essential because she needs someone with her. I'm glad I work at Amazon because I never have to leave my dog alone."

Amber Walcker
senior communications manager

"Whether you have a dog or love dogs, it's a huge company benefit to have them in the office. It boosts morale and gives us greater work-life balance."

Ellie Bodker
strategic account associate

Ruby, mini bernedoodle, pictured with her AWS human Ellie Bodker
Favorite treat: Peanut butter banana bones from the Seattle Barkery

Valor, English labrador retriever, pictured with his AWS human Erin Chapman
Favorite treat: when Erin's husband plays fetch with him, because he throws the ball farther and straighter than Erin does.

"The employee accommodations manager thought about travel options for my service dog that I hadn’t thought of. It was actually a real, interactive process for once where the company wanted to participate in figuring out what would work. And since Amazon allows pets, the service dog badge allows me to quickly show someone without tons of explanation that Valor's a service dog when we go places that pet dogs aren't allowed. I work remotely so I've only been on Amazon sites a couple times, but it's nice that it’s just a quick show of the badge and not an in-depth explanation."

Erin Chapman
software development engineer, AWS cryptography

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