“Tessa,” a Pomeranian rescue, is the newest pet family member of Caroline Veno, a technician in the continuous improvement department at Replacements, Ltd. Caroline was on the lookout for a special dog to add to her family after losing her beloved Benjie (a Corgi/Jack Russell mix) five years ago.
“A friend of mine from work had visited Loving Pet Inn Adoptions in High Point, NC and told me to check out their website,” Caroline said. “I looked through all the pictures and stories but kept coming back to one dog in particular.” The story of Tessa, a four-year-old female Pomeranian who was rescued from a backyard breeder, was what caught Caroline’s attention. “The part about her being shy because of neglect and abuse just tore at my heart,” Caroline said. Caroline was also impressed by the thoroughness of the adoption process at the agency. “The owner of the rescue organization insisted on checking my pet history background and meeting me to make sure I was the right match to be able to help Tessa,” Caroline said.
Imagine adopting a dog that cowers when touched, has lived all her life in a cage, never walked on a leash, has no clue what a treat is, and is terrified of any noise or movement. This was Tessa’s history when she was delivered to Caroline’s house in November of last year. For over twenty-four hours after arrival, Tessa would not eat or drink water. “It was an experience I really could not have prepared for,” Caroline said. “I was so relieved when she finally ate and drank. I was beginning to wonder who would crack first – Tessa or me.”
That was six months ago. “Since that first week when I thought about giving up because I could not get her to respond to me or to anything, I have seen wonderful baby steps of progress. Tessa has gone from only eating when no one is in sight to eating with me standing by her. She has gone from recoiling at being touched in any way to letting me give her a massage or brush her when she is lying on her bed. ”
Tessa had even advanced to the point of trotting through the kitchen to the back door to go out to the fenced in backyard, Caroline said, “But after my youngest cat (Sammie) pounced on her, I now have to carry her to the back door to go out. She does snuggle her head against my cheek when I carry her out first thing each morning. This show of affection is huge for her.”
Tessa loves Caroline’s fenced in backyard, and has learned to run full speed around it. “She is quite adept at yard work, running circles around me while I rake leaves or sniffing the dirt I dig in the garden. Her favorite yard time is in the dark of night when she uses her nose to explore under and around every bush and object she encounters,” Caroline said. “Her joy of discovery is a thrill to watch!” Caroline added.
Tessa still has a very long way to go, but she has already shown great progress. Caroline said, “She is so trusting to have been abused so much in the past. I have found that with repetition and praise, she is moving inch by inch forward. And I do not regret the patience I have developed in working with and helping her. It has been a learning experience for both Tessa and me.”
When asked about the pet-friendly policy at Replacements, Caroline said, “I have enjoyed meeting the wonderful dogs that have come to work the almost sixteen years I have been here. Maybe one day Tessa will be able to come to work with me - if and when she is ready. It gives me something to look forward to down the road.”