Jo Nell Bakanec, an attributer with Replacements, Ltd., and her husband, Greg, thought “Sundance,” an “oversized” golden retriever (Sundance weighed 98 pounds; the average golden weighs 65 pounds), had prepared them for anything. Young “Baron” soon proved them wrong!
Jo Nell and Greg traveled to Arapahoe, NC, to look at a litter of nine golden retrievers. One of the male puppies had a white stripe under his chin, which reminded the couple of their dog, Sundance. “We were about to take the puppy we had nicknamed ‘White Stripe,’ when we noticed that after an hour of playing, one little guy was still going strong, while all the other pups were pooped out.”
They decided to pick the “player,” and took him home with them to Graham, NC. They had already selected a name for him, “Baron,” and that’s when the Bakanecs’ adventure began!
The first time Jo Nell and Greg put Baron in his outdoor pen, he took a flying leap and sailed over the four-foot-tall chain link fence! “It’s very lucky for us that I can bring Baron to work,” Jo Nell said. “Otherwise, he probably would have set out for parts unknown long ago. We live near the Haw River, and he loves to swim!”
“Bringing Baron to work has entertained my coworkers – he gets a lot of laughs with his antics,” Jo Nell said. “Some colleagues have commented how having him here helps to reduce the stress of our jobs. And it’s helped socialize Baron. He licks many of my colleagues to make sure they know how much he loves them. And there are voices he recognizes immediately. His tail starts to wag when you think he has been sound asleep.”
Sometimes Baron does get into mischief. Attributers like Jo Nell keep stat sheets showing the tasks they work on each day. One day when she was away from her desk she heard curator Debbie Reeves call out, “Jo Nell, you better come here quickly!”
“When I got back to my desk,” Jo Nell said, “Baron was chewing up a piece of paper into a pile of tiny shreds. It was my stat sheet!”
Baron has been involved in enough misadventures at work that he’s received some nicknames. “When curators Nelson Poindexter or Jennifer Terrell walk by my desk,” Jo Nell said, “They call Baron ‘Marley’ (the lovable but badly behaved dog in the movie, ‘Marley and Me’). Curator Donna Moore calls him ‘Cujo’ (from the Stephen King horror movie)!”
One of Baron’s favorite activities (and one that doesn’t get him into trouble!) is playing with his many dog friends at Replacements, Ltd. Often he has a 3:00pm playtime with “
Cody,” another Featured Pet, a Jack Russell terrier owned by Brenda Overman.
To help with Baron’s training, Jo Nell has enrolled him in a class. Even there he was involved in a humorous mishap that was more than a little embarrassing for Jo Nell.
“We had an outdoor class,” Jo Nell said, “Where we would see how our dogs would deal with distractions. Baron’s focus definitely was off. When the teacher came to greet him, he started jumping. I noticed the teacher already had a small tear in her jeans from her own pit bulls. After Baron leaped on her, I noticed the small tear had become a big rip about the size of a square salad plate!” Baron is scheduled to graduate from the class soon. “I hope we make it!” Jo Nell said.
“I've worked at Replacements, Ltd. for almost 14 years,” Jo Nell said. “I’ve seen many changes, but one thing has remained the same – we continue to try to make customers' dreams come true by finding their patterns. And I feel proud of the fact that the company is involved in helping so many charities in the community.”