Bow-Wow! What a week Matteo has had! He and his handler, Scott Danback, logged training hours, community service hours, and even won a statewide contest for Palmetto Animal Assisted Life Services (PAALS). Matteo had a goal of raising $4,000 for PAALS to support their work and he far exceeded that goal by raising over $6,000! People from all over our state voted and Matteo won in a tight race for first with 6,306 votes.
“I really didn’t think we had a chance, but when I checked the website August 30th, I saw we were in second place,” Danback said.
Since Matteo won the contest, his picture will be featured on Columbia Craft Brewing Company’s “Bark Brew” can after a professional photoshoot with photographer Rob Wilson. He will also receive $100 in his favorite treats from Mill Creek Pet Foods. The limelight has not bothered the humble K9. In fact, he and his handler believe that this is just one more way for them to serve the community as more people get to know him and learn about the services he offers.
Matteo’s big win could very well be attributed to the hard work he has been putting in over the last week. He visited several businesses in Clarendon County and even visited with students at East Clarendon Middle and High Schools. When Matteo visited the Laurence Manning Library, the usually quiet area became a place of excitement as students, faculty, and staff made their way down to visit. Matteo patiently sat with the students and listened to a story read by the librarian, then he had a chance to give a lot of love to students as they read independently.
“I know the students are dealing with so much more than we could ever have dealt with at their ages, and we just want to offer support and let them know they aren’t alone,” said Danback.
While the focus of most programs like this one is working with older students, Danback and Matteo plan to take a different approach. They want to build relationships with the younger generation, so they are aware of the assistance available to them as they grow older and navigate the obstacles of life.
Matteo and Danback are rested up and ready to go this coming week, and The Manning Times will be with them to document their travels along the way. Check in next week for the next “Where’s Matteo” to see what adventures he has had. If you happen to see him around, snap a photo and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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