WESTFIELD, NJ — Tinsel, a therapy dog who works in hospitals and with children in reading programs, will be at Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming in Downtown Westfield Saturday to help kids conquer their fear of dogs.
Tinsel is a friendly golden retriever whose predictable behavior and training make her an ideal dog for fearful children to encounter, according to Woof Gang owner Michelle Burico. Her handler, Wendy Kern, will be there as well, teaching participants how to safely interact with a dog as well as slowly introduce the idea of touching Tinsel.
"We have had a few parents come into the store asking for help with getting their kids past their fear of dogs,” Burico said. “The best way to overcome that fear is to face it in a controlled and safe environment, and that is what we will be providing with Tinsel. We know that a phobia that has existed for several years won't go away in a few hours, but we hope to get these kids on the right track.”
“Tinsel loves being around people. As a therapy dog, she has the ability to help relieve stress and anxiety. Helping kids to become comfortable around dogs is just a natural extension of what she already does in her role as a therapy dog,” Kern sad.
The event will be held from noon until 2 p.m. Woof Gang Bakery is located at 218 East Broad St.
Burtrico said she hopes to host more events like this in the future.