The Six and Twenty Club met virtually for the Friday April 9 meeting. Following the traditional roll call with quotations and the reading of the previous meeting minutes, Mrs. Susan Ertel was introduced as the program leader for the day.
Mrs. Ertel’s 2020 and 2021 club book is “Rescue & Jessica … A Life Changing Friendship” by Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes and illustrated by Scott Magoon. The children’s book is a New York Times bestseller.
Rescue and Jessica’s story is based on a real-life friendship. Kensky was injured in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, and she eventually became a double amputee. During her three-year recuperation at Walter Reed Hospital, she received a black Labrador named Rescue to help her learn to live her new life.
Jessica and her husband, co-author Downes, who is also an amputee from the bombing, consider Rescue their best friend and couldn’t imagine their lives without him. Though Jessica was an adult when she got Rescue, much of the story is true and is a gentle introduction for children about service dogs and acquired disabilities.
Rescue is a service dog who was trained by NEADS. Mrs. Ertel presented about the NEADS organization; NEADS/National Education for Assistance Dog Services. Mrs. Ertel dedicated her program to honorary member Janet Williams, who had asked Mrs. Ertel several years ago to present a program on prison dogs.
Mrs. Ertel discussed the 10 types of service dogs and what each dog is trained to do. She then shared about the Prison PUP Program where Rescue got his training. The service dogs are invaluable partners in day to day life for the work or task the dog has been trained to provide for the person’s disability.
The impact the NEADS dogs have on their inmate trainers is incredible. They form a deep attachment which accounts for their success. It costs over $45,000 to acquire, train and match each of the highly trained service dogs.
The NEADS Service Dog program is a win-win for everyone involved. Every dog happens for a reason.
Following club business, the meeting was adjourned.