According to the Book of Angela, Help is a 4-LEGGED Word
by Cate Murway
The Macmillan English Dictionary definition of ‘going to the dogs’, is that something is not as good as it was in the past. People have commented ‘this place is going to the dogs. Things aren’t like they were 30 years ago’.
This expression is believed to have been originated in ancient China where dogs, by tradition, were not permitted within the walls of cities and the stray dogs roamed the areas beyond the city walls, surviving off the rubbish thrown out by the city’s inhabitants. Criminals and social outcasts were often expelled from cities and were sent to live among the rubbish – and the dogs.
So… IS the world going to the dogs?
According to Angela Marie Farinella, the dogs are going to the world!
Angela [her name means “an angel”] is avidly working on assisting with the training that Canine Companion dogs receive, the dogs that are “going to the world”.
Canine Companion puppies are placed with volunteer raisers across the nation for socialization and obedience training then between the ages of fifteen and eighteen months they are returned to one of five Canine Companions Regional Training Centers across the country for six months of more training.
Angela explained, “They get trained to turn on lights, open and close doors and sweep the rooms to make sure no one else is in the room.”
The dogs are then teamed with a graduate during an intensive two week schooling period. Four types of assistance dogs, Service Dogs, Skilled Companions, Hearing Dogs and Facility Dogs are professionally trained to master over 40 specialized commands and the Canine Companions dogs and services are provided free of charge.
Canine Companions for Independence was founded in 1975. It is funded by private contributions. This largest non-profit provider of assistance dogs is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers and crosses of the two, as well as the quality and longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people. Pairing the two enhances the lives of those with disabilities and the result is a life full of increased independence and loving companionship.
Canine Companions for Independence has also provided assistance dogs to US war veterans across the country. For a veteran making a new start, putting their life back together after an injury, an assistance dog can provide the help they need along the way to regaining their independence.
Now, enter Angela, an extremely spunky, high-spirited Nazareth Academy seventh grader who keeps her parents, Christie and Lou, very busy. Angela is ardently working on the 2015 DogFest Philly Walk 'n Roll, the tail waggin' signature community dog walk and festival, a national fun time event planned to benefit Canine Companions.
She smilingly urges everyone to grab a leash and join in on the fun on Saturday, October 10th at Neshaminy State Park, 3401 State Road in Bensalem, from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm. [raindate is October 11th].
Register to walk – it’s easy and there is no fee to participate! Monies raised at the event will help provide the highly trained assistance dogs to children, adults and veterans, FREE OF CHARGE.
“Together we can change lives, one dog at a time!”
Angela’s mom, Christie [Antonelli], her Aunt Gina Marie [Antonelli] King and her cousin, Brittany King are all graduates of Villa Joseph Marie High School. They have provided great examples for Angela and the local community by living the VJM motto, "Always more, Always better, Always with love."
“I really like playing with dogs and I watched how Brittany trained her black lab/golden mix, Talita. So, I asked my Aunt Gina about helping with her dogs, Baltic and Halona, and she told me about the DogFest Rock ‘n Roll.”
Angela has been assisting with “measuring out vendor spaces and walking the course”, making certain that the paths are wheel chair accessible on the one mile trail in Neshaminy State Park.
The DogFest Rock ‘n Roll goal is $35,000, but Angela’s personal goal is $50,000.
“It costs $50,000 to raise one dog from birth to retirement.” The upkeep of Baltic and Halona is the responsibility of her Aunt Gina and Uncle Jeff. “I help feed them and train them”, and she laughed, “I play with them.”
Angela has already raised $5,000 manning information tables at local events, including First Friday on Mill Street and Italian Day in Lion’s Park. Her very next informational event is the "Bensalem Fall Festival, Celebrate Community Pride Day", the first Saturday of October.
This multi-talented young girl earned her Tang Soo Do, a Korean martial art black belt through the Nate Gordon’s Black Belt Academy. “I started when I was four.” Music is important to her, too. “I used to play the piano.” Her choice of singers is “a tie between Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift”. Art and Math are her favorite subjects. Angela participates in Reading Olympics and Math Club; she swims, competes in sprints and long jumps in track and field; plays basketball and provides music with her hand-held Choir Chimes. "Breaded chicken and chocolate and cookies” are her food fuel favorites.
Whatever it is that the Jeffry E. King family and Angela are teaching the dogs, it is definitely working.
“Halona saved ten of us from a fire in Ocean City, NJ. Around one in the morning, she was making weird sounds she would never make and woke up my cousin, Brittany. The bottom floor was on fire. Brittany wouldn’t have woken up unless Halona made those sounds. She was rewarded with lots of love and cookies.”
One angel has braces…. the other has a tail!
DogFest is spearheaded by passionate volunteer leaders. Make a difference!
This is an opportunity to partner with a world-class organization that changes lives.
Help Angela support Canine Companions for Independence by making a donation or becoming a sponsor. Get your name and logo in front of all who attend the DogFest and those who follow the event through social media, while increasing awareness of your business. www.cci.org/dogfestphilly
Funds raised go towards pairing the highly trained assistance dogs with people with disabilities. The experience is life changing, and it’s all free because of the multitude of people who support this mission.
Checks made payable to “Canine Companions for Independence” and any raffle donations for Angela’s event can be mailed to:
Tom Antonelli, Inc., “c/o DogFest Philly”, 2201 Hunter Road, Bristol, PA 19007.
Help this 13 year old get to her goal.
Remember what Angela says: "Every dollar is one dollar closer to our goal."
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