DEMAREST, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey therapy dog and his handler have received a special award for their work in responding to schools and communities in the wake of tragedies and other disasters.
Border collie Luke is one of the most popular staff members at the Academy of the Holy Angels in Demarest.
His first job was to chase away geese, but Sister Mary Foley, a teacher and social worker, noticed something in him, WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported.
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“The most special thing about him is that he is very intuitive to what needs of people are,” she said.
“Many of them jumped out of their parents arms and came running over to hug him and pet him,” Sister Mary said. “We probably have spent maybe 175 hours in Newtown altogether.”
In a traumatic time, Luke offers quiet, gentle comfort.
“We had two little 6-year-old boys who got on the ground with him and put their arms around his neck and stretched out across the length of his body and stayed there as long as they wanted to,” Sister Mary said.
In June 2013, Luke was called into service at home. A car struck and killed Holy Angels assistant track coach Andrew Capizzi while he was training on his bicycle.