There were a lot of smiles in the crowd gathered at the entrance of the Oradell Animal Hospital as the Garofalo family, led by young Danny and his service dog KD, came in for KD’s very first check up.
Danny, who suffers from Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy, and his family just returned from a two-week training program at the Georgia-based Canine Assistants, an organization which breeds and trains service dogs to assist youngsters with illnesses like Danny’s or alert dogs for people with epilepsy. Thanks to the efforts of Hasbrouck Heights’ Tom and Michele Meli, whose Mickey’s Kids Foundation raised the funds so that Danny could get his dog, the Garofalo family will now also get a lifetime of veterinary care for KD from the Oradell Animal Hospital.
Danny’s mom Jennifer said words can’t describe how grateful she is to the Oradell Animal Hospital for generously donating their services to KD. Since Danny has been home with his dog KD (which is short for KD Lang- she was born in a litter that was named after all country music stars) Danny now has something to smile about. The dog opens cabinets for him and brings him his sneakers and does many things to help Danny. “It’s changed his world,” she said.
Tom Meli said he has been bringing his dogs to the Oradell Animal Hospital for about two decades now and he can attest that Danny’s dog will get premium care for life. His own dog Mickey, of which the foundation is named for, was the first dog to get water therapy treatment for arthritis. Now his dog Shadow who is 15 is also in good health thanks to the animal hospital.
Lisa Davis, marketing manager for Oradell Animal Hospital, which also has a branch in Hasbrouck Heights, said the hospital is happy to be a part of supporting Danny and his family. Dr. John DeVries, the assistant director at the hospital said they will stand behind the Garofalo family for any thing that KD needs.
This past March the Mickey’s Foundation annual gala raised more than $30,000 for Canine Assistants to be able to provide Danny, whose family hails from Middlesex, a service dog. The Melis continue to fundraise year round for Canine Assistants with the goal of being able to provide one dog for a child in need per year. The next gala is already set for March 16, 2012.