On-Line Edition Thursday, March 15, 2018 Vol. 60 No. 11
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The five members of the 2018 Lilac Court posed for their first official photograph on Sunday, March 11, after being selected from a field of 10 contestants. The young women and their parents met with contest co-chairs Nancy Spartz and Sue Horner and assistant chair Sue Bielenda of the GFWC Illinois Lombard Junior Women’s Club at the club’s clubhouse in Eastgate Shopping Center. Pictured are (left to right) Princess Elizabeth Reiter, Princess Madeline Novak, Princess Betty-Ann Garrett, Princess Chiara Biddle and Princess Kathleen Gomez. The preliminary judging for the contest was held on Saturday, March 10, at Sunset Knoll Recreation Center. Photo by Steve Spoden
***** Out & About by Jane Charmelo *****
Local therapy dog a finalist for hero award
When Bobbi Anderson got wind of a nationwide award contest to honor a hero, she turned her thoughts to a member of her family named Harvey. After all, he is a good listener, provides comfort and makes people smile—loving traits to be proud of—considering that Harvey is a 6-year-old cinnamon chow chow. The Lombard resident said she heard about a nationwide hunt for the "top dog" in America, called the 2018 American Humane Hero Dog Awards, and decided to enter Harvey, because of his work as a therapy dog. She submitted an essay about how Harvey has impacted the lives of many people, and received a response that Harvey will be among some 40 finalists in the therapy category. Unbeknownst to Anderson, the duo even received sponsorship from Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Food. Wanting a chow, Anderson had driven to Missouri to "rehome" Harvey when he was 2 years old. She is attracted to the breed, saying, "My very first dog was a chow." What attracted her? "I thought I was a cat person," she chuckled, and had read that chows have personalities similar to a cat. Harvey, she emphasized, "was nothing like that." Even though she had owned chows before, "I didn't know they had a reputation for being mean," Anderson said, recalling how, on one therapeutic visit, a senior citizen expressed her fear of chows, but took a leap of faith and asked, "Could I pet your dog?," after which she gave Harvey a tentative touch. "Many people find chows frightening," Anderson wrote in her essay, adding that in addition to a reputation for being mean, they are, "at the very least, unfriendly." "It's all about how they're bred and how they're treated," she believes, and decided to enroll Harvey, by then a retired champion show dog, in obedience classes because she sensed he would make a good therapy dog. Having had a therapy dog before, "I knew right away. I could tell" that Harvey would fit the bill. "He's just a funny, sweet dog. He's always happy," added Anderson. "Harvey's just so placid. Nothing bothers him." She enrolled him in classes for about six weeks of training and also conducted a few months of practice at home, after which he passed his therapy test through Pet Partners. Anderson and Harvey became part of two organizations, Pawsitive Therapy Troupe and DuPage Paws for People. With the first group, which is the smaller of the two, they primarily visit District 48 schools. She gets a kick out of how relaxed her dog becomes when the children read to him, and explains to them that it's like they're reading him a bedtime story, because "sometimes Harvey falls asleep." The latter group is larger, Anderson described. She and Harvey still visit schools, but also assisted living facilities ("where his big furry head and fluffy body are always admired"), and in particular Hines VA Hospital and Loyola Medical Center. At Loyola, she said, she visits the medical students, and "they love Harvey." Anderson said for the last year and a half or so, she and Harvey have stopped by the main waiting room of Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, where "it means so much to the patients" to have him pay a visit. Depending on the circumstances, Harvey is now allowed to visit some patients in the chemotherapy infusion area of the center. Anderson said one of the things she enjoys most is visiting with patients, "just sitting and talking," and at the same time, "Harvey brings five minutes of happiness to these people." When asked how Harvey was chosen to be a finalist, Anderson said simply, "I have no idea." However, as she explained in her nomination essay, "Harvey is an ambassador not only for dogs bringing comfort and warmth, but he promotes his breed as well. The first round of voting will take place now through April 25, followed by a second round from May 16 to July 11 and a third round from July 25 to Sept. 5. The winning dog in each category will be flown to Los Angeles for the award night on Sept. 29, to be broadcast on the Hallmark Channel. Dog lovers from all over the world offer their support, as hosts, judges, award presenters and entertainers including celebrities such as Jay Leno, Betty White, Martin Short, Wilson Phillips, Burt Reynolds and Billy Crystal, to name a very few. Winners in each category will earn $2,500 for a designated charity partner and the overall winner will win an additional $5,000 prize. When asked why she thinks Harvey is a hero, she had a list of reasons, starting with, "He brings smiles to people's faces. He's the most giving animal I think I've ever had." And, continued Anderson, "He's a gentle soul. He loves people. I think he knows that people need him. I think he knows he brings people happiness." "He has a way of bringing joy, and to me, that makes him a hero," she concluded. "Our best friends do so much to improve and even save our lives, and every dog owner knows about the extraordinary, unbreakable bond they share with their dog," stated Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane's president and CEO, in a press release. "The American Humane Hero Dog Awards are our way of celebrating the power of the human-animal bond, which has been a core part of our organization's' mission for 141 years." To vote for Harvey, visit www.herodogawards.org. To learn more about American Humane, founded in 1877, visit www.americanhumane.org. To inquire about Hero Dog Awards sponsorship opportunities, email Mari Harner at firstname.lastname@example.org.