A little terrier mix named Biscotti has been elected the pet mayor of Toms River, NJ after competing against other certified therapy dogs for the honor. The contest was being held to raise awareness for therapy dogs and for the work that Caregiver Canines does each and every day. Over 10,000 votes were cast and Biscotti received 33%. Biscotti is the first duly elected pet mayor of Toms River and will now act as a “goodwill ambassador” and attend ribbon cuttings, store openings, health fairs, etc.
Biscotti has been a dedicated member of Caregiver Canines, an innovative free program offered by Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey (CVCJ). Through the program, certified therapy dogs, like Biscotti, and their handlers visit homes of the home bound, frail elderly of Ocean County, bringing unconditional love and smiles to the seniors that they visit.
Election results were announced on October 16th, by Animal Planet’s Victoria Stilwell on WOBM’s Morning Show with Shawn Michaels and Sue Moll. The human mayor of Toms River, Tom Kelaher, was also on hand for the big announcement.
“I’m delighted to have been a part of this effort. Anything we can do to promote CVCJ and help our seniors is great with me.”
Biscotti will be present at Township and County special events through her one-year tenure as Pet Mayor.
Biscotti and her owner/handler Ryan Gilles have been involved with the program for two years and regularly visit two seniors enrolled with CVCJ.
There are presently 30 Caregiver Canines in the program according to the CVCJ program coordinator, Danielle Maley.
“We are delighted with the progress and growth of the program over the past five years. We are looking to welcome new pets as well as new clients who would love a visit from one of our four-legged friends.”
Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey (CVCJ) is a non-profit organization, dependent on donations and grants. Since 1993, CVCJ has been dedicated to assisting the frail and homebound elderly with everyday tasks, enabling them to remain independent in their own homes. All services provided are free. Over 900 volunteers assist more than 2,000 senior citizens each month with transportation to medical appointments, grocery shopping, relief for Alzheimer’s disease caregivers, reassuring telephone calls and friendly/pet visits.
For more information or to learn about volunteer opportunities, contact Mary A. Malagiere at 732-505-2273 extension 211.
To reach Biscotti or request her presence at your event, call Caregiver Canines Coordinator Danielle Maley at 732-505-2273 extension 202 or email her at [email protected]