Boy’s Best Friend

Boy’s Best Friend
A military Aid Program Joins a Special-Needs Teen with a Four-Legged Support System

By Barbara Clark, The Kitsap Sun

Despite his youth, Falcon takes his work seriously. The 21-month-old, 70-pound dog is the picture of decorum when strangers step up. He knows better than to jump on them, wag his tail ferociously or — heaven forbid — bark. That makes the strangers smile even more at the handsome golden retriever.But when his 14-year-old master, Alex Carion, says it’s OK, Falcon shows he’s still a puppy. He stands on his long hind legs and gently puts his forepaws on Alex’s shoulder. And that brings a smile to the face of the quiet teen.

Alex, a ninth-grader in regular classes at Poulsbo Junior High, has a rare congenital neurological disorder, cerebral hypoplasia. It causes balance problems and makes him prone to falls, as well as affects his speech. When Falcon is outfitted with a walking harness, Alex literally can lean on his new friend for support.If it weren’t for the Combined Federal Campaign, the military equivalent of United Way, Alex might not have Falcon’s help and companionship. CFC contributes to Canine Assistants of Alpharetta, Ga., where the Carion family got the dog about a month ago. They also qualified for a “military scholarship” from the national military commissary system and the company Milk-Bone. The cost of breeding and training each dog averages $15,000.

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The Story of Maggie and Jay

The Story of Maggie and Jay
Therapy dog and hospital’s sickest children share in cancer fight

By Megan Woolhouse, The Boston Globe

Dogs usually aren’t allowed into UMass Memorial Medical Center, and especially not in the sterile environment of the children’s intensive-care unit. But that rule does not apply to a golden retriever named Maggie. Wearing her blue vest and ID badge, she is a common sight, sitting guard by the nurse’s station or in the hall next to 12-year-old cancer patient Jay Davis.More than 350 children have gotten to know her by name. But now Maggie is facing illness. Last month, the retriever was diagnosed with a severe form of cancer in her nose. And like Jay, and many of her other young pals, she’ll probably need chemotherapy to save her life.

If the treatment doesn’t work, Dr. Marianne E. Felice, head of pediatrics at the Worcester medical facility, wonders what her staff will tell the children.

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Pet Therapy Day

Pet Power: Richland Woman, Her Dogs to Present Pet Therapy Day
By Ruth Rice, The Tribune-Democrat

Hannah and Gretchen are known in certain circles as the golden girls. The girls are 7-year-old golden retrievers owned by Christine Fogle of Richland Township.They are certified pet-therapy dogs and provide a golden opportunity for local nursing-home residents and hospital patients to share love.

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