DTE has a new member of their team who is working diligently to boost community engagement and bring a little sunshine to those working in the office. Enter Nora, a community ambassador for DTE, who also happens to be a photogenic certified therapy and facility Labrador Retriever.
Being a community ambassador for DTE means that Nora fills multiple roles which range from attending community events and helping around the office by brightening the days of her human companions. According to Colleen Rosso, Corporate Communications Manager for Corporate Citizenship, Public Affairs and Philanthropy, Nora has almost become something of a celebrity among those who work for DTE.
“She has become probably the most popular person at DTE, for sure. She goes to employee events, she will be there if there’s a team that has maybe a really tight deadline, or they’re dealing with something really stressful, she’ll come in to lighten the mood and get everyone refocused and re-energized,” shared Rosso, while discussing the mood when Nora is in the office.
Nora is active in DTE’s community outreach programs; she attends events that range from Halloween celebrations to visiting shelters to bring a little bit of joy to those who might need it.
“She does everything from visiting hospice patients who are missing their pets, to visiting the local domestic violence shelters to play with the kids,” added Rosso. “She went to the Detroit shelter on Halloween and dressed up as Super Girl, and the kids got to play with her, and they had a great time. Since then, she reads with kids at libraries; she does a number of things.”
While her presence has been significant for DTE’s community outreach efforts, one of the most profound impacts Nora brings through her work calls back to the previously mentioned point, her ability to help make the workplace a little bit less stressful.
We can all relate, sometimes work gets a little bit stressful, and having a dog around could just be the thing that keeps that stress in check. Rosso described multiple occurrences where people have come up to Nora in the workplace after having a hard day.
“I think she’s been a really big help and I say that because I hear that from a lot of employees and it’s funny because I’ll be taking her down the elevator or we will be walking through the building to meeting and people will stop, and they’ll interact with her a little. They’ll hug her and pet her, and as they are walking away, I can hear them say things like, “wow that really made my day, I was having a tough day, and I feel way better.” and even in my office, I have people come up to my office all the time just saying things like “I don’t want to bother you, but you know, I’m just having a really rough day, can I just sit for five minutes and play with her [Nora]” and then they almost inevitably walk away feeling a little bit better.”
Nora is also active on Instagram, even somewhat of an influencer. Rosso says that Nora loves the camera, and the feedback on the account has been nothing but positive.
“She doesn’t mind being photographed, and she’s a little bit of a diva that way. But, what’s been very fun is the reaction we’ve had to her Instagram account, and how many messages we’ve gotten from people, and how many people from all over the country have been interacting with her, which has been a lot of fun,” shared Rosso, “We also had a number of our peers within the energy industry across the country, not only follow her account but reach out to us. She was really the first facility dog in our industry and now in a few years, there will be more. Really after seeing her Instagram account, they really felt like this was something that they wanted to do for their own folks in their own community.”
Rosso shared the positive experiences of many employees and those in the community have had with Nora. One experience, in particular, was with an employee who was unable to meet Nora the day she was hired due to a last-minute health emergency. During her treatment and time away from work, the employee messaged Nora on Instagram asking if she could meet her the day she returns to work. Nora replied yes, and DTE was able to work with the employee to film a short video about her experience with Nora.
If you’d like to keep up with her wholesome canine antics and see how big Nora can grow, be sure to give her a follow. The video made by DTE can be seen below and highlights the experience of dealing with an illness and how Nora made the return to the office even better.