The Retirement of Employee No. 3

Once when we were interviewing for a designer position we met with an excellent prospect with solid skills. The only drawback was, she was terrified of dogs. As I explained to her the opportunity but that the dog was a more than the owners dog, he was employee N0.3 and that meant he would have seniority in the office. She turned down the offer.

When we contemplated the prospect of getting a dog we knew we would look at animal shelters first and adopt a dog. During the course of our search for this dog we went to see Cider House Rules. There is a scene in that film where adoptive parents enter the St Cloud orphanage. The camera pans across the faces of these lovely orphan boys each longing to be chosen to go home with the couple to be in a real family. We knew after seeing that movie that the dog we found would be called Irving.

As we entered many of these shelters the experience was similar, looking at the faces and trying to decide who to pick. And there was Bob. This dog had been picked up as a stray a month earlier and not claimed. They figured he was about a year or so old. One of the volunteers there said “Bob is the smartest dog in here, because he knows how to behave to get out of here” She wasn’t wrong as soon as we walked him around the grounds he was super attentive and very keen to please, a disposition which never left him. However he didn’t suit the name Bob, and he didn’t suit Irving either. He was, we both knew, most certainly Cider.

And so began employee No. 3’s long career with Thinkhouse Design.

From the day we hired him we could see the benefits of his skill set would serve the business well.
He ALWAYS showed up on time. In fact, later in his career he showed up BEFORE everyone else. We at the time lived a 25 minute walk from the office. On occasion, having left the house early in the morning (as in “kids have you seen Cider? did someone let him out?”…) we would arrive to the office and FIND him waiting outside the door. How he got there on his own, to this day remains a mystery to us. Clearly he knew where to find us and just thought he would get a jump start on his day. He was a great promoter of taking snack breaks, loved lunchtime walks, chilled to office tunes, and was willing to share space with another Staff dog named Lewis.

Staff have come and gone over the years, but Cider until now, has been with us through each and every day. He has seen us at our worst and at our best. He has warmed our feet under our desks, stayed until 3am when deadlines were immovable, and stood by us while we have navigated our entrepreneurial existence.

On the day we moved our office space, he was literally the LAST one to leave. We had washed the floors and backed ourselves out the door. When we raised our heads to see the completed job, there he was.

Cider helped us be a better company. Helped us be compassionate and thoughtful. Helped us stop every once in a while and breathe. Helped us persevere through a seemingly impossible design dilemma. But most of all, Cider just loved us and kept us real. The Thinkhouse is empty without you friend. We wish you sunny park filled days in your retirement.


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