Marcel — Therapy

Location: Birmingham, Alabama

I was going through some difficult transitions in my life, and I decided I needed a companion. While searching for the perfect dog, I discovered that French Bulldogs were playful and affectionate. After a short search, I found the perfect ten week old puppy and named him Marcel. Within days of his arrival in my life, he won over my heart and then eventually the hearts of the whole neighborhood. Marcel got to know every shop owner and employee at each shop along our walking route. Every afternoon as we passed by a local restaurant, the staff would come out and pet Marcel for some informal “therapy.” He truly had a special way of greeting each person he met and brightening their day. As a special education teacher, I just knew this special quality Marcel possessed could be used to comfort or help those in need. We made some informal visits to school, and sure enough he greeted and loved every type of learner in my classroom. Marcel became infamous at school. Even a short article was written about him in the school newspaper. After hearing about Hand In Paw, an animal-assisted therapy program in our area, I decided to officially train Marcel to be a therapy dog. It took a year of training, but Marcel and I passed our test. We now regularly visit nursing homes, our local children’s hospital, and a center for adults with special needs. He brings smiles to every person he meets. He shows the same loving, kindness to every person. For this, he truly a hero.