garden space, which opened last May, was an ideal locale for their first annual Pet Adoption Fair held on Saturday. Representatives from local nonprofit animal rescue groups filled the library's outside extension with several dogs, cats and a few other critters in need of loving homes. Families were invited to come spend the day, and maybe even go home with a new addition.
The action packed day included a special appearance by Dr. Elizabeth Cohen, host of Your Healthy and Happy Pet on WCBS Newsradio 880.
Debi Feliziani of Dog works, a local dog training facility, gave a presentation. "She trained me to train my dog," said Denise Heid, the library's adult reference librarian,
Organizations in attendance included: Bide a Wee, Grateful Greyhounds, Brookhaven Animal Rescue Alliance, Katie's Critters, Pine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), Guide Dog Foundation, Forgotten Friends of Long Island, Town of Brookhaven Animal Shelter, Kent Animal Shelter, Town of Islip Animal Shelter, Animal Rescue Force, Save-A-Pet and more.
A ceremony was held to honor the Sachem Library's therapy dogs and their trainers. The library was the first in the county to have a therapy dog program, which started in 2002; since its inception many other libraries in Suffolk County have followed suit.
Today, the library has a team of 10 dogs with almost as many trainers, but it started out with just one dog, and was originally called Book Time with Dakota. It was the persistence of Dakota's trainer, Suzanne DiRusso, which brought this groundbreaking program to the Sachem community.
"I pounded on their doors for a year ... I wanted to do a program about reading," said DiRusso. "I learned about it; I was passionate about it, and had a great dog to start it." Dakota, who passed away, was honored with a memorial stone etched into the library's walkway.
Every Thursday night from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. children come to the library, and read to the therapy dogs. DiRusso explained, "It's for kids in kindergarten through fourth grade, who are afraid to speak in public, have trouble reading or want to read better ... and the dogs sit and listen."
The therapy dogs visit nursing homes and hospitals to help boost morale.
Several animals were adopted as a result of the fair. Heid said, "Animal Rescue Force had the most animals here, and every single one is gone."
Kerri Glynn, a volunteer at Save-A-Pet, articulated why events like this are so important.
"To adopt from an animal rescue saves a life, because these animals are already here, and already need homes. You don't need to breed anymore animals," stressed Glynn. "There is no animal you can want that is not at a rescue shelter."