As you can see from Dan’s post, lots of us are animal lovers. Back when I lived in Chicago, a few of us would take turns hosting a workday that we would call “Bring Your Work to [Pet’s Name] Day.”
When Ann, Sam, and Trevor came to my apartment for “Bring Your Work to Clementine Horsetooth Day,” we worked from my couch and enjoyed the occasional interruption by Clementine, my elderly Siamese cat. She strutted around flirting with the newcomers: stretching and yawning and shaking her tail. At “Bring Your Work to Hector Day,” a bunch of us holed up in Sam’s loft with his sweet tabby and ordered a ton of Indian food. After work, a few of us got drinks at the Skylark before heading home to our own pets.
Online, we got to know everyone else’s pets from our Campfire room, All Pets. All Pets is a place to blow off steam, to take a break from work, and to connect with coworkers who may live on another continent.
And so, when Clementine died last November I knew my coworkers would be supportive, but I didn’t realize how much so. Not only did our office manager, Andrea, send flowers on behalf of the entire company, but I also received a whiplash of IMs from many people expressing their love and support. Ann (who doubles as World’s Best Catsitter for many Basecats) was especially supportive, in part because she had recently gone through the loss of her own Basecats. And then, a week after Clementine’s death, I received a condolence package from Berliner Natalie containing this amazingly succinct mug.
When I think of the average office dynamic, I don’t think of this kind of camaraderie. Maybe it’s because our figurative water cooler is a silent, opt-in chat room filled with adorable animals that we’re able to connect more earnestly than if we were at a literal cooler. Maybe it’s because we’re all abnormally obsessed with animals, but All Pets isn’t our only Water Cooler. There’s All Parents, All Nerds, All Comics & Movies, among others. Nonetheless, there’s nothing at Basecamp, not even an ocean or two, that keeps us isolated from one another.
In Memory of all the pets we lost at Basecamp.