Toms River, New Jersey is having a unique campaign to nominate a “pet mayor” to represent the respectable pet citizens of the area. The “pet mayor” will serve for a one-year term and will act as a goodwill ambassador, representing Toms River at various events and ribbon cuttings.
There are five therapy dogs in the running for the “pet mayor” title and whoever wins will also be a sort of “spokesdog” for therapy dogs, raising awareness about what they do and how people can receive assistance.
All five dogs are currently part of an outstanding program within Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey. The Caregiver Canine program matches therapy dogs with elderly and disabled individuals who can no longer care for pets of their own.
This unique program began in 2009, when Executive Director Lynette Whiteman saw an opportunity to combine her love for dogs and helping the elderly into a new service. She thought of her love for dogs and how sad it is that many elderly have to give up their pets and are no longer able to interact with dogs.
Caregiver Canine is now one of the only therapy dog programs that actually brings the therapy dogs and their handlers into the homes of the elderly and disabled rather than using an institution, such as a library. They match each dog up to someone based on that person’s preferences, the dog’s personality and many other factors to aim for a perfect match.
The program has been a great success with some of the therapy dogs visiting the same home for the past four years, since the program’s beginning.
The Toms River “Pet Mayor” contest begins on Monday, September 9th and will last until October 14th. The winner will then be announced on October 16th, which is fittingly the same day as the local elections for Senate. The announcement will be made by respected dog trainer and author, Victoria Stilwell.
You can view the five candidates’ photos and stories and vote for your favorite at Caregiver Canines.
You can also view Caregiver Canine’s original site within Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey’s website by clicking here.
Please also visit Caregiver Canines Facebook page.