Czech-born author Milan Kundera said it best: “Dogs are our link to paradise.”

No one understands this better than Natural Habitat Adventures, which is proud to celebrate International Dog Day (observed each year on August 26). It’s one reason our trips offer ample opportunities to commune with canines, from tracking wild dogs in Botswana to hearing wolves howl in Yellowstone.

It’s also why our Louisville, Colorado, office has always had an open-door policy when it comes to our staff’s furry friends!

Lucky Dogs—and People: Benefits of a Dog-Friendly Office

Office visits provide a host of benefits for lucky Nat Hab dogs, starting with better behavior and socialization, says Senior Marketing Manager Kendal Bower. Bower co-chairs our Dog Squad to ensure everyone follows our official dog policy and that everyone’s tails (canine and human) stay wagging. What’s more, a nearby park connects to an open mesa where staff “can just let their dogs run free and play” during breaks, she says.

husky, lab and other dog breeds in harness and leash on a hike in colorado with mountain peaks in distance

A few of Nat Hab’s friendly office assistants! Hershel the Lab (far right) and friends. © Kendal Bower

The benefits extend to humans, too, says Bower, who regularly brought her Black Lab, Hershel, to the office before switching to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic. And while other Nat Hab staff have followed suit, the dog owners who still work in our Louisville office need not splurge on doggie daycare or stress about their pups being left alone, she says. “Those walks on the mesa were also a time for colleagues to brainstorm projects or just bond and get to know each other personally,” she adds. “It was a really wonderful time.”

But Bower says the most important benefit of having dogs in the office is better mental health. “Every time I visit with Hershel, people light up when they see him because he’s such a popular dog there,” Bower says. “It just makes the atmosphere a little lighter. A little happier. There’s such a therapeutic benefit to having dogs around.”

Something to Celebrate: Bringing Dogs Back to the Office

Kona © Don Martinson

Don Martinson, Nat Hab’s Director of Trade Relations and Dog Squad co-chair, concurs on all counts—except which pup holds the title for Nat Hab’s most popular dog. “This is where I have to argue with Kendal, because Kona was the most beloved dog on the planet!” kids Martinson, beaming while speaking of his friend, who sadly passed in 2019.

“Kona visited every single person in the office, and he actually made people that don’t like dogs like them,” he adds. One of five Martinson pups to frequent our office over the past 15 years (“They’ve all had two families—our family and their Nat Hab family,” he says), Kona is also one of a dozen or so memorialized with plaques on an office wall devoted to our dearly departed dogs.

Nat Hab Dog Memorial Wall

Nat Hab’s Dog Memorial Wall © Don Martinson

Martinson now brings his current dogs, Kaia and Lui, to the office, though he laments the lower number of canine companions relative to pre-pandemic counts, when as many as 20 dogs graced our halls on any given day. Fortunately, as the Nat Hab team grows and staff return to our office or make visits, more dogs are returning, too. This just reinforces “the loving quality and special culture that Nat Hab has always had,” Martinson says.

So, here’s to our enduring canine-friendly culture and to celebrating every dog around the world—including a few of our own favorite pups, both past and present. Thanks for always keeping us connected to paradise!

Meet a Few of Nat Hab’s Furry Friends


Blue Merle Australian Shepherd | 5 years old

compilation of australian shepherd aussie dog and owner

Atlas © Hayley Oswald

Best friend: Hayley Oswald, Adventure Manager

Best (canine) friend: Matzah, a 4-year-old Bernadoodle she’s played with since puppyhood

Favorite words: dog park, walk, treat, toy, squirrel, ball 

Hitting the trail: “Atlas is a big hiking fan in any season (including winter, when she gets covered in snowballs),” Oswald says. “She also loves playing in creeks in the summer and hasn’t met a trail she couldn’t finish yet!”

Social butterfly: “People are her favorite, and in Denver, she loves going to parks like Cheesman, Wash Park and City Park, where she gets countless pets.”


Aussie & Border Collie | 4 months old

Brewer © Emily Kleinburd

Best Friend: Emily Kleinburd, Adventure Director

Backstory: Brewer was labeled an Aussie and Border Collie mix by his adoption agency, “but he’s a true mutt and really could be a mix of a lot of breeds,” says Kleinburd. A few other guesses: Heeler, Great Pyrenees, Newfoundland….

Favorite food: “High-value training treats like hot dogs—he’s loving those!”

Hide your shoes: Kleinburd’s pup chews everything in sight, so she often looks to distract him with bully sticks.

Making a splash: Brewer loves to splash both paws in his water bowl while making “a big, adorable mess,” says Kleinburd. “We took him on a paddleboard for the first time, and he did great (while being held by Mom)! We’re hoping one day he’ll love to bike, run and hike with us as well as splash around!”

Cinnamon (aka Cinny)

Australian Shepherd | Dearly departed at 13 years old

Cinny © Emily Kleinburd

Best friend: Emily Kleinburd

A life well lived: Cinny passed in October 2022, “after a long, happy life with dog and human friends alike, spending her happiest days in the mountains, and of course, at Nat Hab with all her best friends,” Kleinburd says.

Day in the life: “Every day at exactly 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., she would stand up from her dog bed, ready for the daily walks on the mesa where she and all her friends could run free. When we’d return, the dogs would commence the ‘treat tour’ where they’d visit all the cubicles they knew had treats.”

Constant companion: “Cinnamon loved doing everything her humans did. She was a great camping companion, a backcountry ski enthusiast, and the best hiking buddy. She loved taking dips in mountain lakes and getting cuddles from all her favorite humans.”

Claim to fame: Her golden eyes that could stare right into your soul.


Black Lab | 9 years old

Hershel © Kendal Bower

Best Friend: Kendal Bower, Senior Marketing Manager

Backstory: Hershel hails from Bower’s home state of Iowa, where he was born at the house of family friends. When he was eight weeks old, Bower made the round-trip drive from Colorado to pick him up.

A sure sign: At birth, Hershel and his littermates initially appeared so similar that Bower’s sister and brother-in-law weren’t sure which pup to pick out for her. “So, they took a step back and just observed,” she says, “and this puppy comes up with a little leaf in its mouth and sits in front of them and shows them the leaf. That was the one!”

Favorite food: “He’s a lab, so he eats everything … and loves everything!”

Favorite activity: Swimming. He first learned how to swim at Estes Park, and in classic Lab fashion, he picked it up immediately.

Cold play: Hershel’s second-favorite activity is rolling around in the snow. “He’ll ‘Superman-out’ [like he’s flying] and just lay there,” says Bower. “I’m like, how are you not freezing?!”


Saint Bernese | 9 years old

Juniper © Kelly Faulkner

Best friend: Kelly Faulkner, Operations Coordinator

Heart of gold: “Juniper loves all dogs and people and has no shortage of personality,” Faulkner says.

Favorite food: A good marrow bone. “When Juniper has gotten most of the good stuff out, she’ll come drop the bone in your lap (gross!) because she wants you to help dig out the hard-to-get marrow.”

Favorite activity: Swimming—all year-round—no matter the wind, rain or snow.


Siberian Husky | 2 years old

Skye © Mark Jordahl

Best friend: Mark Jordahl, Conservation Travel Writer & Editor

Favorite food: Pizza crusts

Favorite activities: Hiking and chewing on Jordahl’s hands

Skye high: “Skye lives the ultimate dog life,” says Jordahl. “We live in a small town at 8,300 feet in the mountains outside Boulder, where she runs free all day.”

Unlikely animal friends: Jordahl and his wife worry at times because their area is home to mountain lions, moose and bears—all three of which can pose a risk to dogs. So, they were surprised when they learned that a neighbor saw Skye mingling with a moose in a nearby meadow. “Days later, we were hiking in the same area and came upon a large moose,” he says. “Skye went right up to it, totally unconcerned … they hung out for about five minutes before the moose resumed eating and Skye continued on the trail. We worry less now about wildlife because we know Skye has a very large moose friend watching out for her.”


Swiss Mountain Dog & Labrador | 11 years old

Lui © Don Martinson

Best friend: Don Martinson, Director of Trade Relations

Backstory: The Martinson family first met Lui on a beach on Kauai. “He had an ‘adopt me’ vest on and was with tourists volunteering with Kauai Humane Society’s Field Trips for Sheltered Dogs,” Martinson says. “We did the same a couple days later, then decided to bring Lui home to Colorado to live with our other two furry friends—Lola and Kona.”

Criminal mastermind: Lui once ate a whole honey-baked ham and stole a split pea soup starter mix from a suitcase. “He takes them out our doggie door and hides the ‘evidence’ in the bushes!”

Favorite activities: Swimming, paddle boarding, fetching balls and bringing the newspaper in from the driveway

Strange but true: When people get excited or loud (for example, while watching televised sports), Lui woofs and humps legs.

Claim to fame: Lui also goes wild whenever he hears the “Happy Birthday” song!

Kaialani (aka Kaia)

Black Mouth Cur & Shepherd | 1.5 years old

Kaia © Don Martinson

Best friend: Don Martinson

Backstory: Nat Hab’s former Marketing Director, Matt Kareus, fostered a mom (then called Muffin) and her litter in December 2021, all rescued from a Navajo reservation in Arizona by Soul Dog Rescue in Colorado. “One of the females reminded Matt of my beloved Kona, who was an office pup from 2006 to 2019,” says Martinson. “Matt kept badgering my wife and me to take Muffin … and we soon brought her home. She immediately became part of the Martinson clan, and we changed her name to Kaialani, which means ‘ocean and heavens’ in Hawaiian.”

Favorite food: Ice. “If an ice cube hits the floor, she gets it before we can pick it up!”

Scaredy cat … errr dog: During Kaia’s first camping trip, “she was leery of the dome tent, but then tried to get in my mummy bag in the middle of the night.”

Cutest quirk: “She buries her muzzle in my neck when she’s on our bed. She’s a super snuggler!”


Tibetan Mastiff Mix | Dearly departed at 13 years old

Bear © Becky Pahl

Best friend: Becky Pahl, Adventure Prep Director

Backstory: Bear had three owners in his first year of life. “Then, we met,” says Pahl. “It’s impossible for me to comprehend why someone would give up such a special soul. He was an absolute love.”

Favorite activity: Hiking. “He was a Colorado mountain dog through and through. We were constantly exploring the wonders of the Rocky Mountains together for almost 12 years until lymphoma took his life.”

Special talent: Pahl learned from a previous owner that Bear was an escape artist, “which I witnessed myself when my 75-pound Bear-Bear climbed a chain link fence to follow me to my neighbor’s house.”

Psychic encounter: Pahl once took Bear to a psychic who told her Bear knew she was considering replacing his lumpy old bed with a new one. “Well, said the psychic, Bear wanted me to know he liked the old one and wished I would keep it for him. I did.”

Clarence Oddbody

German Shepherd & Husky | 6 years old

Clarence Oddbody © Becky Pahl

Best friend: Becky Pahl

Backstory: Clarence was born on a reservation in South Dakota and was left in a box with his siblings to be picked up by a rescue. “My co-worker and friend, Mandy, saw Clarence’s picture on Facebook and forwarded it to me, thinking he might be the perfect fit. She was right.”

Biggest quirk: “He loses his mind when he sees a squirrel or a rabbit,” says Pahl. “I pretend not to know him when this happens!”

Loving life: Despite his quirks, “Clarence lives life with gusto and exuberance. He’s the most curious and alert dog I’ve ever met.”

Favorite activities: Hiking and fetch. “Clarence can fly through the air to catch a ball like nobody’s business. He’ll fetch for as long as someone throws the ball!”

Chena (Chee’-na)

Alaskan Malamute | 7 years old

Chena © Wendy Redal

Best friend: Wendy Redal, Editorial Director

Backstory: Chena was born in rural southwest Virginia, “and while her heritage may be in the Arctic,” Redal says, “she loves living in Colorado, especially during the winter, since it gets cold enough to suit her. She’s really happy when it’s below freezing, and if it’s snowing, all the better!”

Namesake: Chena is Redal’s fourth Alaskan Malamute, and like her three predecessors, she’s named for a place in Alaska, in this case, the Chena River and Chena Hot Springs near Fairbanks. “Given that my career in travel started when I became a guide in Alaska, these sled dogs hold a special place in my heart.”

Favorite food: Grilled salmon skin

Infamous incident: During a pre-Covid walk on the mesa, Redal let the famously independent Chena run free to play with the other dogs, “but I should have known better, because she was off like a shot down the hill to chase a herd of cows,” she says. “Chena also lured her Husky pal Shiloh—Art Director Mark Hickey’s dog—to follow her, and while Shiloh ultimately came back, it took me over an hour to catch Chena, who was far more interested in the cows than anything else. When I finally corralled her, she was panting, animated and filthy, her white paws covered in mud to the elbows.”

Nevertheless: Chena “may be trouble sometimes,” Redal adds, “but she’s fun and affectionate, and she has (or had) lots of fans at the office. In fact, I took her in over a year after we closed due to Covid, and even though my colleagues were all working remotely at that point, Chena still made a beeline for the empty desks of those who were especially generous with doggie treats.”

Can’t get enough dogs? Discover Five Canines to See in the Wild on a Nat Hab Adventure!