Lending A Paw To Those In Need


A blog by Ms. Monica Barsever, Science Department 

This is my dog, Jack. Jack is a certified Therapy Dog, who is trained to bring emotional relief to people in stressful situations. He particularly likes to listen to children read, to visit sick people, or people who are unhappy and prefer to talk to a friendly dog.

Dogs are known as man’s (or woman’s) best friend. They are intelligent, steadfast companions, and are often called on to help humans in the worst disasters. During the chaos of the September 11th attacks, where almost 3,000 people died, nearly 300 loyal, highly trained Search-and-Rescue dogs and their handlers scoured the mountains of metal, wood and concrete rubble of Ground Zero for survivors. The dogs worked tirelessly in 12-hour shifts for two weeks to search for anyone trapped in the rubble, along with countless emergency service workers.

The Search-and-Rescue dogs, and the specially trained disaster-relief Therapy Dogs, also provided emotional relief to the first responders through their innate ability to comfort humans, and to relieve stress.

After retiring, the last surviving 9/11 Search-and-Rescue dog, a Golden Retriever named Bretagne, worked as a Therapy Dog in elementary schools, helping students learn to read, like Jack does. Sadly, Bretagne passed away last year at the age of 16 although the work she did lives on in her humans and the ones she helped. 

You can regularly spot Jack around campus and when you do, feel free to stop by and say “hello” to a friendly face. 

Ms. Monica Barsever is a member of the Science Department at Alverno Heights Academy. She holds two Master’s degrees. This is her sixth year teaching at Alverno Heights Academy and she currently teachers Physics Honors, Biology Honors, AP Biology, AP Environmental Science, Engineering and Robotics, and Honors Independent Research in Engineering. Ms. Barsever is also the faculty advisor for Alverno’s partnerships with Caltech and the campus moderator for the Science National Honor Society, the Science Club and its sub-clubs, and the Harry Potter Fandom Club. For more updates from Ms. Barsever and her science clubs and organizations on campus, see her Alverno Girls in STEM blog.

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