Featured Pet (and Pet Owner!)

When Melonie Penn, a supervisor in the Replacements, Ltd. retail store, first met "Ianto" in person, it was as his chauffer. "Ianto was a rescue dog, and my partner and I were driving him to Salisbury to meet up with his foster "mom," Melonie said. Ianto, whose name at the time name was "Maxwell," was a stray found by a local family when he was around seven months old. The family tried to find his owners, but after failing to do so, started calling local rescue foundations. "We were lucky that they were ultimately referred to the Merit Pit Bull Foundation, which we were already involved with," Melonie said.

Once Melonie and her partner met Ianto, they fell in love with him instantly. "He was the sweetest pup, and a great car rider!" Melonie said. Because there was a waiting period for dogs in the program to be adopted, Ianto spent a few months in a foster home before Melonie could begin the adoption process. "We avidly followed his updates on the Merit Pit Bull Foundation Facebook page, and kept in contact with his foster mom about his behavior and interactions with other dogs, hoping that he and our blue heeler/brittany spaniel mix, " Nike," would get along," Melonie said. In October 2012, Melonie arranged a week-long "sleepover" to see how Nike would react to Ianto being in the house. Things went well, and Ianto has been a part of their family ever since!

"Ianto's name comes from Ianto (yahn-toe) Jones, a character on the BBC show "Torchwood." "We already had a cat named "Gwen Cooper" from the same show," Melonie said. However, Melonie wanted to keep "Maxwell" as part of his name because it"s more natural to use first, middle, and last names when correcting misbehaving children! "We generally call him "Maxwell Ianto Jones" when he is in trouble, which for him usually involves running laps around the living room and knocking things off the coffee table," Melonie said.

Ianto is still learning the house rules, and the limits of Nike' willingness to interact with him. "Nike is eight years old, and has been an only pup most of her life, so they"re both learning to be patient with each other," Melonie said. According to Melonie, Ianto's favorite daytime activity is a toss-up between chewing on his bone and playing with his Kong toy. He also loves going for walks through the neighborhood and meeting new people. "Being that he"s a young, active boy, he has yet to come to work with me for the day," Melonie said. But he has made occasional visits, and Nike comes to work often.

When asked about Replacements' pet-friendly policy, Melonie said, "Being able to bring our dogs to work provides another dimension to being able to socialize them. It also gives Nike a break from her super active little brother, and allows him more time to have the run of the house!"

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