Giving Back

Local Teen and Therapy Dog Bring Smiles to Those in Need

85ba602083d76c552dc8_Screen_Shot_2017-12-13_at_10.12.04_PM.jpg
Heather McGuire and Bella, her certified therapy dog
f10406f03d91dff33162_Screen_Shot_2017-12-13_at_10.11.36_PM.jpg
Bella signs into Inglemoor by putting her paws up on the counter
f834533c2afbe0dfe0dd_Screen_Shot_2017-12-13_at_10.12.24_PM.jpg
Bella signs into Inglemoor by putting her paws up on the counter, and is rewarded by getting a “Puppuccino” at Starbucks after a hard day at work.
c116290d5d18c9022750_Screen_Shot_2017-12-13_at_10.11.04_PM.jpg
85ba602083d76c552dc8_Screen_Shot_2017-12-13_at_10.12.04_PM.jpg

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Since her father’s death two years ago, local 16-year-old Heather McGuire has dedicated her time to “turning tragedies into triumphs” by giving back to the community alongside her certified therapy dog, Bella. 

Only a week after losing her father to a heart attack after he had been battling Stage IV cancer for nearly a year, Heather also lost her 17-year-old chocolate lab. Instead turning to isolation, anger and bitterness, Heather and her mother, Nicole, a Livingston High School alumna, adopted a Golden Retriever puppy, named her Bella, and had her certified as a therapy dog in order to bring joy to others in pain. 

“Heather is all about making the world a better place through her volunteer work,” said Nicole. “She knows how the dogs that came into visit her father brought him great joy and she wants to pass this along to others.”

Sign Up for E-News

Since becoming certified in August of 2016, Bella and Heather have been volunteering at Inglemoor Rehabilitation & Care Center in Livingston, and are currently working with Scott Bradley of Bradley & Son Funeral Homes with the hopes of soon bringing Bella in to assist other grieving families in need of additional emotional support. Heather is also beginning to apply for volunteer work at local hospitals now that she is of age to do so.

Margaret Brown, director of activities at Inglemoor, said Heather and Bella are a wonderful addition to the Activities Department.

“Everyone looks forward to Thursday afternoons to love on that pup,” she said. “Heather has done an amazing job in training her, caring for her, and keeping her wardrobe updated week to week. Pet therapy is a regular activity offered at Inglemoor, and we are lucky to have such a great team engaging our residents."

After seeing the joy the therapy dogs brought to the patients while her father was ill, Heather said she knew she had to do this with her own dog. According to Nicole, Bella tends to gravitate toward visiting families, who often seem to need Bella just as much as their loved ones do.

“A lot of them say they really needed this right now, and the smile that’s always on their face makes me feel happy,” said Heather. “A lot of the elders say they love seeing Bella and they get really excited when she [is on the schedule].”

Heather is a 10th grader at The Calais School, a state-approved provider of special education for students with special needs, located in Whippany.

Apart from her adventures with Bella, Heather also volunteers at the Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church in Chatham. She has also attended Camp Clover, a four-day therapeutic camp through Atlantic Health Care's HOSPICE, for the past two years and has been asked to come back next year as a counselor to help other children cope with grieving and loss.

Two years after Bill McGuire’s death in 2015, the family continues to participate in Relay For Life, a nationwide, 24-hour walk/run event that honors cancer survivors, remembers loved ones lost and fights back against cancer.

Heather and Nicole also work closely with Imagine New Jersey, a center for coping with loss that Nicole said helped them transform their grief into healing. Imagine’s goal is to “create communities where grief and loss are transformed into resilience, empathy and compassion; and create communities where no child grieves alone,” according to its website.

“We’ve learned a lot through them of how to deal with the loss of Bill, through my perspective as his wife and Heather’s as a child,” said Nicole. “One of the things is always wanting to give back and still do Relay for Life because we did it that year for Bill, but we’ve changed the team’s name to ‘The Dream Team’ because we dream of a world without cancer.

“After Bill passed away, we felt like there had to be a reason for all of this and we have to find the good in something so tragic that happened to us. We needed to give it some meaning, and what we learned is that other people are out there that need the support and the help and to have an uplifting day.” 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Livingston

Livingston Lacrosse Senior Jason Scher Named Athlete of the Week

April 20, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Livingston High School senior Jason Scher has been named as TAPinto Livingston’s Athlete of the Week after scoring 14 goals and contributing 15 assists in his last five games—bringing him to a total of 35 points so far this season.

With Scher leading the pack, the Lancers are 5-2 after winning their last five consecutive games. Scher scored three ...

Livingston Fitness Crawl: Five Days of Free Classes at 12 Livingston Businesses

April 22, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — The public is invited to enjoy one free class at as many of Livingston’s fitness businesses as they would like during this week’s Livingston Fitness Crawl, beginning on April 23 and continuing through April 27.

For five days, no purchase is necessary at the following locations:

BARRE3 LIVINGSTON

CARDIO YOGA

CLUB PILATES LIVINGSTON

CYCLE BAR ...

Full Pet Grooming Service 25% OFF

LITTLE FALLS, NJ - Cloud Canine Grooming Salon & Spa in Little Falls is open for business and owner and pet stylist Melissa DiRoma is offering 25% off a FULL GROOMING SERVICE for all new customers. Call (973) 837-8884 or visit http://cloudcaninesalon.com to schedule your appointment. Mention promo code TAP DOG for discount. 

About Cloud ...

Free Wellness Event at The Joint Chiropractic

WEST CALDWELL, NJ — The public is invited to a "Wellness Event to Remember" at The Joint Chiropractic in West Caldwell on Thursday, April 19 from 7 p.m. to  9 p.m.

Guests will include:

Michael Piercy, owner of The Lab
Justyna Debski, owner of Revive Mind Body
Karen Caplan, owner of Nutrition Transitions

Join the ...

Luxury Facial Services 50% OFF

MILLBURN, NJ - DeAmour Salon & Spa is proud to announce its newest team member, Renee Rudikh, formerly of the famous Georgette Klinger Spa at the Short Hills Mall.

Rudikh has extensive experience and specializes in a plethora of facial styles including: deep pore cleansing/European, microdermabrasion with collagen, teenage, men's, back, LED and customized European ...

YMCA $0 Enrollment in April

LIVINGSTON, NJ - For the month of April, the West Essex YMCA is offer $0 enrollment. 

Take advantage of all that your local Y has to offer for the whole family!

Personal Training
Group Classes
Swimming
Camp
Childcare 
Low monthly membership
And much much more!...

Check out all that the Y has to offer HERE

About the West Essex YMCA:
The West Essex YMCA has ...

MAX Challenge of West Orange - 2 Weeks FREE and more...

WEST ORANGE, NJ - The MAX Challenge of West Orange is about to start its next challenge.  Sign up before April 9, and you will receive maximum benefits, including two weeks free!

NUTRITION... MOTIVATION... RESULTS..!

SIGN UP BEFORE APRIL 9TH AND GET THE 'TAP CHALLENGE' PROMO:

12 weeks for the price of 10
Unlimited fitness classes 
Nutritional ...

Upcoming Events

Mon, April 23, 1:30 PM

Livingston Public Library, Livingston

Monday at the Movies: LOVING VINCENT

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_d9041d5fa031b1dc4d7b_best_8b56ef1b9860e2829bb1_teenagers_sitting_home-page-wlogo-750-500px

Wed, April 25, 10:00 AM

Estelle Finkel Center for Learning, Livingston

Upcoming 2018 Spring SAT and ACT Courses

Carousel_image_db004570084548800c6c_jww_pgp_headshot

Wed, April 25, 7:00 PM

Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, South Orange

Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity

Education

Essex County Executive Announces Improvements to County Parks System

April 22, 2018

ORANGE, NJ - Using the tennis courts in Essex County Irvington Park as the backdrop, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced last week that the tennis courts in Irvington Park and Weequahic Park, and the basketball courts in Ivy Hill Park and Monte Irvin Orange Park will receive facelifts with new asphalt playing surfaces, equipment and fencing. The project is part of ...

Abilities Expo 2018 Offers Resources for People With Special Needs

April 22, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Livingston’s Abilities Expo 2018 will be held on Sunday, April 29, from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Livingston High School. This family-friendly event showcases a variety of resources, products, services and technologies for people with special needs – all under one roof. The Expo is co-sponsored by Livingston Public Schools and the Livingston Advisory ...

Letter to the Editor: Don't Complain. Vote!

April 12, 2018

Don’t Complain; Vote!

It’s no secret that people have strong feelings about what’s happening in our country. It’s also true that much of politics is local. In November, 11th District residents will have the opportunity to choose a new congressional representative who will not only serve as a critical check on the federal level, but also determine how our distract fares ...

Cluelessly Clueless

I teenaged my way through high school under the assumption that my parents had no idea what I was doing.  I like to think I was pretty good at withholding information and presenting situations in ways that were other than they really were.

 

Still, sometimes they found things out.  Like the time my friends plopped me on our front door step at one o'clock in the morning ...