A dog on a mission

Wednesday, November 29, 2017
According to Preston Patton, who found Sweetie, a border collie and blue heeler mix, more than a year ago at a job site, she teaches him new tricks every day. She does, however, shake hands and beg for treat bits. Melonie Roberts/Cassville Democrat

Sweetie brings smiles to everyone

She’s a dog on a mission.

Sweetie is a familiar sight to employees working on various projects for the construction firm of R.E. Smith, out of Joplin. She accompanies her owner, Preston Patton, on his deliveries of equipment and supplies every day, bringing smiles to the workers who watch for the appearance of the friendly pup.

Preston Patton, who makes equipment and supply deliveries for R.E. Smith, out of Joplin, takes an afternoon break to play tug with Sweetie, his blue heeler and border collie mix that accompanies him on his rounds. The duo were recently at Monett’s South Park near where workers from R.E. Smith are building the Monett Aquatic Center at the Monett Area YMCA. Melonie Roberts/Cassville Democrat

“Sweetie was actually found one day on one of the work sites,” said Patton, who adopted the foundling after multiple attempts at locating her previous owner were unsuccessful. “She is familiar with most of our workers and our subcontractors, and they get a kick out of her visiting them on the job site, especially around lunchtime, when she is sure to get plenty of treats.”

Patton said workers would often go to local stores to bring back their own lunch items, and bring a little something extra for Sweetie, as well.

“Several of the guys have taught Sweetie to give them hugs,” he said. “I would never encourage her to do that, but they say they’ve got to get their lovin’ from Sweetie.”

On occasion, the blue heeler part of her nature comes out and Sweetie has to herd her owner, Preston Patton, back into line. The diligent pup not only keeps her owner in check, but is a favorite among crew members at area R.E. Smith Construction sites, where employees vie for hugs and shower her with goodies, especially at lunch time. Melonie Roberts/Cassville Democrat

When she was first discovered on a job site more than a year ago, she spent several days interacting with the crew members as they searched and made inquiries about her ownership.

“She took to the crew, and they took to her,” Patton said. “She was good about staying away from heavy equipment and out of the way.”

Once adopted by Patton and his wife Donna, Sweetie started accompanying him on his daily rounds, becoming a familiar site sitting in the front passenger seat of his truck and befriending company employees at each new location.

“She likes to explore new places,” Patton said. “But, she doesn’t get in the way, and she’s never far enough away she can’t hear me whistle. I also work on the trucks at the shop, and I keep a box of toys for her there. She’ll lay down to watch me work. She knows when it’s time to work, and when it’s time to play. And one of her favorite things is to play herd dog — with me.”

Patton said Sweetie is remarkably intelligent.

“She’s the smartest dog I’ve ever owned,” he said. “She can take the lid off a water bottle in about 10 seconds. She teaches me new tricks every day. She loves to play and explore, and she is very social.”

Her intelligent and social nature makes Sweetie an ideal candidate to serve as an ambassador for the company.

“My boss went on vacation, and when he returned, I went in to the office first thing to get my orders for the day, and Sweetie went with me,” Patton said. “He saw her and said, ‘Sweetie, I’ve missed you so much.’ She makes friends wherever she goes. She’s good at making people smile.”

She even wins over those who are not particularly ‘dog people.’

“I think her purpose is to bring happiness to people everywhere she goes. I know she brings it to me.”

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