Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pet Therapy Volunteers Pat Coglianese and Jessie, New City, New York

Photo: Liz Borda
Jessie, a five-year-old German Shepherd, spent the first two years of her life in a service dog program, training to lead a blind person. Unfortunately, Jessie is very friendly, and the service dog trainers were unable to train her not to want to say hello to people and dogs passing by.

At two years old, Jessie was released from the program and adopted by a convent of nuns who run a soup kitchen in an unsafe neighborhood. The nuns wanted a German Shepherd that could run free in their soup kitchen yard and bark at anyone who tried to climb over the fence at night.

But Jessie wouldn’t bark—because she is too friendly!

The nuns decided she was not the dog for them. They asked dog trainer Pat Coglianese if she knew anyone who might want Jessie. Someone did want Jessie—Pat!

Pat trained Jessie as a therapy dog as well as a Reading Assistance Education (R.E.A.D.) dog. Jessie is now a therapy dog whose friendly personality is perfect for reading programs with children. She and Pat also visit soldiers recovering at the Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) at West Point.

What’s more, Jessie also helps Pat train other people’s dogs. She is Pat’s best friend and gets to say hello to many people and dogs—just what she loves to do!

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