Tuesday was an exciting day on campus as Preston gave an interview to WTNH News Channel 8, the local ABC news affiliate.
Sarah Cody and photographer Mike Piskorski spent the morning with Preston and his handler, REACH teacher Danielle Drazen. Preston showed how he helps REACH students day to day at Chapel Haven Schleifer Center, everything from holding doors open for them to lying snugly across their laps firmly enough to provide sensory relief.
You can view the story here:
Preston is a two year old golden retriever/Labrador cross who came to Chapel Haven Schleifer Center in April after graduating from “puppy college” through Canine Companions for Independence, the largest non-profit provider of assistance dogs in the United States.
REACH Teacher Danielle Drazen Danielle is Preston’s handler and she brings a lot of expertise to the task. She has raised seven puppies for the organization.
Danielle brings Preston to campus each day and he has quickly become a treasured part of the everyday life for the REACH students.
Preston helps students with a variety of day-to-day tasks. He joins various classes, helps out when the students are walking to the bank or CVS and provides a comforting nudge if a student is having a bad day. He’s able to open doors, drawers, retrieve objects and even help students while they’re completing a transaction.
Preston was provided free of charge by Canine Companions for Independence.
Here’s what the students say about their treasured companion:
James: “Preston always brings a smile to my face.”
Marcus: “He has helped me with my money. I think it is important to have Preston at Chapel Haven because he helps a lot of people.”
Rhys: “Preston is a really good boy and he is really helpful during our social plans. He’s really funny and he likes picking names for our Reach for the Stars challenges. He helps me look both ways when walking.”
Sarah: “He helps people when they’re not feeling good. He can open the doors. He does with me to CVS every week.”
Chapel Haven President Michael Storz said Preston’s presence has been well received by staff and students alike. “Preston is very well trained specifically to help our student population. He is gentle and kind and can often get students to do their least-favorite task because they want to please him. Danielle and Preston make an amazing duo.”
For more information about Canine Companions:
John Bentzinger, Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator
Canine Companions for Independent, Northeast Region
ph: (631) 561-0205