Golden retriever proud mom, ‘house dog’ at the Twin Rivers Care Center
By L.A. Jones, Union editor
Call it maternal instinct. Almost five-year-old Tessa is quite naturally more fond of her 10 golden retriever puppies than the much older senior residents at Twin Rivers Care Center in Anoka. But you wouldn’t be able to tell it the way Tessa splits her time between feeding her 10-day-old litter and giving her much-sought attention to the seniors and the strokes they so need.
“It’s just the touch, the feel; they (the residents) put them (the puppies) up to their faces and they love it,” said Felicia Paulzine, nurse in charge at Twin Rivers who brings Tessa and her pups in every day that she works. It’s a routine that has roused the spirits of the residents for about eight months since Tessa first made her presence known at Twin Rivers.
“This is a great thing,” said Suzanne Havemeier registered nursing assistant. “The residents really love it.” “The ones (the residents) who get agitated, we can usually bring them out here (to the lobby area) and it calms them,” Paulzine said.
Tessa has been what owner Paulzine calls a “house dog” or “facility dog” since she was about five months old. She has learned to answer to her name when a resident calls her and more importantly to give that resident the affection they so much desire.
The Twin Rivers residents who had become so attached to Tessa were also very much a part of her pregnancy, following her courtship with Kokey, a golden retriever stud from Oklahoma, at every point along the way. “It was kind of an arranged thing,” said Jacquie Lewis, activities director at Twin Rivers Care Center.
Once Tessa had her little ones, it didn’t take long for the entire staff and all the residents at Twin Rivers to find out about it, either.