Work at CSI for the day with our new Lounge Pass!

#StayAtHome activity: Meet the dogs of CSI!

Lisa Amerongen

Lisa Amerongen

Director of Communications

We’re missing a lot about CSI right now: the hustle and bustle of folks coming up and down the stairwells, the smell of coffee, soup, or waffles coming from our kitchens, the fantastic chalkboards and plants that bring art and fresh air into our spaces. 

We thought you might be missing the CSI vibes too, so we reached out to some of the most essential members of our community, the ones that bring us joy, laughter, warmth, and, if we’re lucky, cuddles…  the dogs of CSI!

These pups are the ones that you see strolling around our communal spaces, sniffing for crumbs, and sitting happily under our desks. When discussing the state of coworking in the midst of COVID, our CEO Tonya Surman remarked, “People need people.” She’s right. We’d just like to add “dogs” to that statement too.

Read on get updates from – or acquainted with – some of the CSI pooches.


Laura Liscio is a Project Exchange Community Animator at CSI, and while she’s physically distancing at home, her dog Milo is fantastic at helping pick out her sweatpants for the day! Milo is of two minds about this experience: “On one hand he loves having me around so much he wants to cut his walks short so he can get back inside to play and cuddle. On the other hand I’ve been getting “the look” of skepticism. Like ‘Ok mom, what’s really going on here… and when are you going back to work?’ We had the ‘COVID talk’ the other day, he seemed to understand.” 


Charlotte is a five pound chihuahua rescue! Her owner, Tara Stubensey, is the COO of Sweet Reason Beverage Co. and a member at CSI Spadina. Together Tara and Charlotte have been working tirelessly to cut spending, raise capital, and receive government funding so as to weather the economic storm and emerge whole and ready to succeed on the other side.

How is Charlotte getting through this time? Sewing masks for hospital workers, baking bread and trying to kill the cats. All in a day’s work…”



Sophie Jacazio works at the Goods, is a Project Exchange Community Animator at Climate Ventures at Spadina, and is a loving mother to Freedom, a five year old street dog from Thailand! While Sophie has been working at the Goods making fresh healing food to be delivered across the city, Freedom has been maintaining his usual high cleanliness standards and enjoying the extra love at home. The two of them have been sprouting seeds on their balcony, lining up DIY projects, and doing lots of plant-iful cooking.

Want more pics of Freedom (and his feline brother, Simba)? Check out their instagram account: @welivewiththem_



Tara Marina Pearson is an Animator at CSI Annex, and her normal way of working at CSI could not be more different than the Zoom-filled days of the last month. “As we shift our Animation practice online and build new Rituals for and with our community, I’m seeing the proof that our community is still here. This transition will take time to adapt to, but I’m grateful to work in a community like ours where we really are in it together!”

Tara’s dog, Luna, has been keeping her company, “Whenever I’m anxious, she has a way of sticking nearby. I find her under the desk at my feet, or she follows me into the washroom – I feel like she’s reminding me I’m not alone in this.”


Sofia is a two year old Mexican rescue. Her human, Vivian Lee of Youth Fusion / Fusion Jeunesse, says Sofie keeps me grounded – she doesn’t care about the pandemic – she just wants to sniff stuff and pee on things. She is thrilled that I am around 24/7 for belly rubs. She has won ‘Employee of the Month’ at home 3 times already, and it’s only been 3 weeks.

Sofia saw me doing yoga in the living room and immediately joined in. She does a much better downward dog than I can! After I was done, she stayed to practice her savasana on the yoga mat. (see photo for evidence)!


CSI Annex member and Educational Resources Coordinator at REEL CANADA, Joshua Bertram has been working hard from home. “My colleagues and I worked hard to turn the annual National Canadian Film Day into a fully online format variety with streaming movies, fun activities, and filmmaker engagements that Canadians can enjoy from the safety of their isolation.”

Luckily he and Louis, his fawn pug, are both Aries babies, so when they aren’t working, they’re celebrating their quarantine birthdays. Louis just turned four at the end of March! Happy birthday Louis! Follow him for all the cuteness on Instagram: @dandypuglouis



CSI Spadina members will recognize Lola as Nyssa Rubinsztajn of’s friendly cockapoo. Lola misses being at the office and has been jumping on team meetings to say “hi!”

When they aren’t doing Instagram live workouts in the basement, Nyssa has been working hard with ProjectBoard, getting ready to launch, for Makers and STEM communities. It’s a fun and engaging way to share ideas, develop projects and learn in groups online – check it out!



Layla is a ten year old Boxer mix. She and Gonzalo Duarte, CSI Annex’s Community Manager, have spent the last few weeks contacting Annex members, figuring out how we’re going to make it through the crisis and emerge together. Off hours they hang out with family, read, cook, clean, and just finished just finished Ozark, Unorthodox, The English Game, Dead to Me, 101 Dalmatians, and Lassie on Netflix.

We’re warning you two: it’s not an easy watch. Especially for animals and those who love them!


CSI’s Chief Community Officer, Shona Fulcher, is the proud owner of Gambit, a two and a half year old standard (read: BIG) bernedoodle. While Shona has been focusing on understanding the impact of the pandemic on community and entrepreneurship, co-learning how to develop new effective ways to support, and baking up a storm, Gambit is balancing his time carefully between nagging Shona to play and napping on the couch. 

Shona says, “Having a dog is always a joy but having a furry buddy right now who still believes play can solve anything brings laughter into a time where it’s so desperately needed.”


Roxie’s human is Henry Dillon of Well Informed Limited. She is a four year old Rottweiler. He is the Director of the online software company, spending his time at home migrating a lot of their WordPress-hosted websites to a new content management system. “Not exactly sexy work – but it’s good to clear out a whole load of technical debt that we’d been building up over the last 5-10 years.” 

Roxie loves having Henry and his husband at home all the time but doesn’t understand why if we’re both home, why they can’t all go on walks together. If just one of them takes her out for a walk then she insists on waiting for whoever they’ve left behind. Awww! Insta: @roxierott


Leaf Butler’s Sam Ayyash says the best part of having Bernie the four year old cocker spaniel closeby is that he listens without judgement. While Sam continues his “weird relationship” with his yoga mat (“… it gets unrolled, stared at, and then rolled back under the bed!”) Bernie is being an Instagram star! Follow him: @bernie.the.cocker



Lisa Amerongen is the author of this blog post and the Director of Communications at CSI. She happened to rescue her dog, Bandit, a four year old terrier mix, on the same day she started quarantining (so he’s never actually been to a CSI building but he aspires to one day)! The COVID-19 world is the only one Bandit and Lisa have known together and they couldn’t be happier with the walks, cuddles, games, treats, and distractions that help fill the days.

“If you get a chance to cuddle with a furry friend, do it.” Lisa says as she types this, “If you aren’t in the position to adopt or foster, never fear, when we’re back in our dog-friendly spaces, we will have a puppy party.”


Hope these canines brightened your day! If one of the things you’re missing right now is our weekly Salad Clubs, look no further than our CSI Programming Calendar to find out how to log in to the next one virtually!


Keep Reading
People gather around a table outdoors, looking at items.
CSI Member FES works to empower youth for a more inclusive, fair, prosperous, and sustainable future, including through their The Youth Harbour initiative. CSI partnered with The Youth Harbour to offer a Climate ShareSpace, which provides a centralized location for cocreating, convening, and resource sharing among youth climate and social justice activists.
A group of people sit on and stand around a blue couch in the third floor lounge of CSI Spadina
CSI Member FES works to empower youth for a more inclusive, fair, prosperous, and sustainable future, including through their The Youth Harbour initiative. CSI partnered with The Youth Harbour to offer a Climate ShareSpace, which provides a centralized location for cocreating, convening, and resource sharing among youth climate and social justice activists.
Third floor lounge of CSI Spadina coworking lounge. People sit at tables and work, amongst soft furniture. There is a progress Pride flag handing from the ceiling.
Happy Pride, CSI! 🌈 To celebrate this year, we asked our community to share with us their favourite books, movies, TV shows, and podcasts that help to celebrate, uplift, teach, and honour 2SLGBTQIA+ stories. Below, we have an awesome roundup of recommendations from across the CSI community. Head over to your local library, tune in to watch, or plug in to listen and enjoy these diverse stories.
Become A Member