This month, we revisit the evolving story of “Tessa,” a pomeranian rescue, and pet family member of Caroline Veno, a technician in the Replacements, Ltd. continuous improvement department. When Tessa was featured nearly two years ago, her story was about a dog that lived the first three years of her life in a cage, never walked on a leash, cowered when touched, had no clue what a treat was, and was terrified of any noise or movement. At that time, Caroline commented that, with repetition and praise, Tessa was moving inch by inch forward. She added at the end of that story, “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.”
Five months after that article, Tessa began coming to work with Caroline on a daily basis. She left the security of her bedroom kennel one October morning, “running to the front door and putting her paws up on the door as I was leaving for work,” Caroline said. After that momentous first day at work, there was no turning back for Tessa! “The first two days I carried her in and out of the building to get to my desk. After that, she accepted walking on a leash and riding in the car.”
Caroline said, “Tessa has her own doggie bed under my desk, and free reign in my cubicle. She loves walking outside around the building twice daily, and getting treats from the security guards and my coworkers. She has learned to sit and let employees slowly approach her and scratch her back.” And as for her fear of sounds, Tessa has now become accustomed to typical warehouse noises – forklifts, boxes, and pallets being moved around inside, along with the engines of diesel trucks outside. “It is amazing that she can calmly walk through a busy, noisy warehouse and not flinch,” Caroline said.
“The past year and a half has been a whirlwind of Tessa discovering the world around her and gaining so much confidence,” Caroline said. Caroline explains that Tessa knows what the phrases “go to work,” “go get coffee,” “go for a ride,” and “we’re here” mean. The “go get coffee” is a morning ritual that Caroline and Tessa perform weekdays on the way to work. They go through a local coffee shop drive-thru where, if an employee named Lisa is working, Tessa gets a doggie treat while Caroline gets her coffee. When Caroline says “Lisa’s here,” Tessa starts crowing like a rooster and continues until Lisa hands over a treat.
Weekends are filled with adventures when Tessa and Caroline walk through nearby university campuses or small downtowns to see the sights. “Tessa and I love to walk the long bridle trails in our county park,” Caroline explains. “The first time Tessa met a real horse she just stared and stared because she didn’t know what that that big thing was.” Besides walking everywhere to “sniff out all the sights,” Tessa loves to roll in mud puddles or “scented” patches of grass in order to experience the “beauty of nature.” For this reason, Caroline keeps Tessa’s coat groomed short so it is easier to clean!
When asked what she likes most about the Replacements pet policy, Caroline said, “Our pets-at-work policy has made it possible for Tessa to become socialized much quicker than if I had to leave her at home and socialize her after-hours or just on weekends. Also, she has become more relaxed around dogs of all sizes and types during her daily interaction with the other Replacements pets that come to work.” Caroline adds, “I am so thankful to soon celebrate eighteen years with Replacements, Ltd., a company which not only values its customers, employees, and the product we offer, but actively shows respect and understanding for the dignity of all people and things.”