Brealey 2Eleven-year-old English Golden Retriever and therapy dog Brealey Fineberg fetched the title of Middle Township’s 2016 Top Dog from a field of charming canines.

Canadian-born Brealey lives with the Finebergs, Bob, Ginny, Cindy and Dan. Although he is a big fan of the ocean and even riding waves in Florida, Brealey is equally at home in a swimming pool.  He’s earned time to relax, though, as he works with heart at Camp Dreamcatcher and in the chemo infusion center at Pennsylvania Hospital

Camp Dreamcatcher (http://campdreamcatcher.org) hosts infected/affected HIV/AIDS campers from ages 5 to 17 in Brealey 1therapeutic and educational programs including horseback riding, cooking, swimming and golfing. Brealey comforts the campers and provides the support they need to have the best experience possible.

As soon as he puts on his vest at Pennsylvania Hospital (http://www.pennmedicine.org/pahosp), he’s ready to work. Chemo infusion can take six to seven hours, and Brealey provides a little distraction. He’s an easy way to start a conversation and most patients are responsive to him. A jaunty walk through Washington Square Park is a treat for him after about two hours’ work.

One day on the way to his park reward, he passed a young girl crying by herself. She’d had a sickle cell attack and was waiting for pain medication. Even though tired, Brealey quietly approached her, lay at her feet and comforted her for two hours, making a real difference. He is quite a hero.

Brealey began his education as a therapy dog by earning his Canine Good Citizen certification at the yearly dog show in Wildwood. After being tested for basic obedience, he was mentored by a local trainer. He learned to deal with wheelchairs and hospital beds. Of course, excellent manners are expected at all times.

Learn more about therapy dogs through the Alliance of Therapy Dogs (http://www.therapydogs.com ).

As the face of the 2016 Middle Township Animal Advisory Board, Brealey will be awarded his 2016 license and receive doggie goodies at the February 17th Township Committee Meeting. Smeltzer and Sons Feed and Pet Supplies Store has donated gift certificates for ten percent off a future order at their store for all pet parents who submitted photos in the 2016 Top Dog Contest.

Brealey is a reminder to license dogs for the new year and update rabies vaccinations, if necessary. Animal Control Officer Bill Candell will continue to canvass the community to be certain each dog is licensed as per State law.

Licensing benefits dogs and people in multiple ways:

  • A licensed dog gets a free ride home, if lost.
  • A licensed dog does not have to go to the shelter, if lost.
  • Since licensed dogs can go home, they do not require shelter intake and care. This saves time and money and allows shelter staff to concentrate on finding homes for abandoned or relinquished animals.
  • A license tells everyone that the dog is appropriately vaccinated against rabies.
  • Part of the license fee funds free rabies clinics throughout the State.
  • Unaltered dog’s license fees require a contribution to the State Animal Population Control Program. These funds return to the community at participating veterinary offices which utilize the funds to alter animals of financially challenged residents.
  • Knowing how many dogs are in the community permits successful planning for emergencies and evacuations. The more dogs that are licensed the better.

Learn more about the Middle Township Animal Advisory Board or licensing by contacting Dawn Stimmel at Middle Township Municipal Hall via (609) 465-8732 or dstimmel@middletownship.com.