Rescuing Dogs — and People — With a Walk in the Park

Rescuing Dogs — and People — With a Walk in the Park

Some of Zehnder’s top talent has four legs. Molly, a 12-pound mix of sass and sweetness, serves as our director of first impressions in Baton Rouge. Sumner and Hewson, a King Charles Spaniel duo, provide comfort and fluffiness to our Nashville staff during long conference calls (we all know the kind).

Zehnder’s office dogs provide the much-needed positivity and playfulness our team needs to keep coming up with creative, strategic solutions for our clients. Given that it’s scientifically proven that petting dogs decreases stress, it’s safe to say that Z’s canine companions are more than just tail-wagging entertainment — they’re key team members who help us achieve our mission of having fun, doing great work, and making a difference.

This season, we’re proud to announce that we’re helping other pups — and humans! — in New Orleans by partnering with the Jefferson SPCA through their Buddy Break program. Buddy Break provides office workers across the New Orleans Central Business District a chance to get some fresh air and enjoy the companionship of adoptable dogs during their lunch breaks. It was inspired by an Australian shelter’s “Human Walking Program,” founded on the idea that it’s not shelter dogs, but desk-bound office workers who are in need of rescuing.

Since 2014, the Jefferson SPCA has brought the concept to life in New Orleans, transporting hundreds of adoptable dogs and puppies to Lafayette Square to be walked and loved on by surrounding office workers. The response to Buddy Break indicates that Australians were on to something. Studies offer even more proof:

  • Short lunch hour walks are mood boosters that can help combat afternoon energy slumps and work-related stress (New York Times)
  • Petting a dog can increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decrease the production of stress hormone cortisol. (Fast Company)
  • Going for a walk can boost creative ideation (Journal of Experimental Psychology)

For anyone staring at a blank page on a screen or haunted by a growing to-do list, these are all amazing benefits. But the perks aren’t just reserved for us humans. Buddy Break has incredible benefits for participating dogs, too: 

  • When adoptable dogs are walked regularly, they have fewer social and behavioral problems, making them more likely to be adopted. (JSPCA)
  • Interaction with adoptable dogs at events like Buddy Break helps change public perception of shelter dogs.
  • Increasing visibility of dogs outside of the shelter increases the chances for adoption. (Best Friends Animal Society)
  • Dozens of short walks at Buddy Break have resulted in dogs finding foster homes and forever homes.

So, after receiving countless kisses in the puppy play pen and walking laps around Lafayette Square, we decided to make it official and pledge our love as an official sponsor of Buddy Break. Stop by Lafayette Square from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Thursday, Sept. 27 and again on Oct. 27 and Dec. 8. Learn more about Jefferson SPCA and Buddy Break at  

Adorable puppy photo taken by Rachel Ruth Photography

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