When Heaven first went to live with Jackie Rakers, she was scared of everything.The scruffy rescue puppy from Kentucky River Regional Animal Shelter had had a rough start to life and was nervous around strangers and loud noises.Luckily, her mom found the perfect place to help her come out of her shell — Home Depot.
Scared rescue dog starts working at Home Depot“The Home Depot runs started as a way to help her with her fears,” Rakers told The Dodo. “She was nervous about new places and new sounds, so we’d go for five minutes and she’d get all the treats. Then we started going longer and longer and exposing her to more and more things within the store.”
The large, dog-friendly store was the perfect place for Heaven to socialize, and the pup was such a good girl on her visits that she earned her own tiny employee apron.Dog works at Home DepotNow, Heaven knows when the apron comes out, she’s about to go to her favorite place.
“I keep it in the car so we are always ready,” Rakers said. “As soon as she can tell we enter the parking lot, she just quivers until I put [the apron] on her and then takes off towards ‘work.’”
“She walks around like she owns the place,” Rakers added.
Heaven has become a bit of a celebrity at her local Home Depot, where all the staff knows her by name, and there’s even a picture of her in the break room.
And while she may not be an official employee, when she’s at her favorite store, she offers excellent customer service.
“She walks around minding her own business and then suddenly insists on meeting someone,” Rakers said. “She just sits and stares. They always end up saying how they needed that pick-me-up. It’s like she has a sense of who needs to be shown they are loved that day — and one of her favorite places to do that is Home Depot!”
Heaven loves running errands with her mom, and everywhere they go, she finds someone having a rough day who needs her smile.
“She was scared of everything, but with a lot of training and patience, she learned to trust, and now it’s like she pays it forward,” Rakers said. “She finds who needs her and gives them that smile and a cuddle.”
The only downside of all their Home Depot runs is that every time they visit, Rakers comes up with a new home improvement project. But all the retail therapy is worth it when she sees how happy Heaven is and how far she’s come.
“She’s the perfect example of what happens when you meet someone where they are at and love unconditionally,” Rakers said. “She went from so scared and so sad to the happiest dog.”