Submitted by Kay Phelan for Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center
Meet Abbey, a trained four-year old Maltese therapy dog and her owners-handlers Roslyn Lindeman and Jennifer Town. Once a week, Abbey and the ladies help make the day a little better and brighter for child victims receiving services at the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center (ECCAC) in Niceville.
Both ladies worked together with accomplished careers as registered nurses—Jennifer as a captain in the Navy Nurse Corps, and Roslyn in Civil Service. Along with Abbey, the ladies completed 15 weeks of training at Pawtopia in San Diego, California. Abbey successfully passed the test as AKC Canine Good Citizen and became certified in February 2017.
Shortly thereafter, Abbey and her owners joined the Armed Forces YMCA Pet Therapy Program at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, visiting both inpatients and outpatients of all ages and illnesses.
All three retired to the Destin area last year and have become quite immersed in the caring world of volunteering to help others. According to the ladies, “We truly believe that Abbey was born to be a therapy/comfort dog. Her disposition is such that just seeing, touching or being around her makes people comfortable and happy. No matter how young, how old, how happy or how sad they are, she seems to know exactly what to do.”
Currently Abbey visits and “works” at the ECCAC in Niceville three hours a week. She is also part of the Pet Therapy Program at FWB/Valparaiso Airport, where she meets and greets travelers. In her spare time, she is the local “ambassador” for tourists and residents alike in and around their home in Destin.
A total of nine therapy dogs and their owners-handlers are helping the kids at both centers. ECCAC’s mission is to prevent child abuse and neglect, protect children in Okaloosa and Walton Counties and restore the lives and futures of these impacted children and their families. Visit www.eccac.org for more information.