On January 29, 2018, a brilliant dog named Jenna passed her Therapy Dog Certification Test. Little did she know, she would be selected for a very special honor. Jenna was one of the first female graduates for the Masonic Association of Service and Therapy dogs volunteer program in 2018. And that meant that a remarkable M.A.S.T. family would be able to present her with their beloved dog’s pink vest, to carry on an extraordinary legacy.
Zoe Messineo, was one of the original MASTDogs. She was a German Shepard handled by Robert and his wife Jean. Zoe was rescued by the Messineos in 2011. Zoe had a kind spirit and a wagging tail, she deeply loved her family and they loved her. The Messineos decided to share Zoe’s special brand of love with patients of all kinds by joining M.A.S.T. Zoe visited the patients at Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital and the Captain James. A. Lovell Federal Healthcare Center, she also joined Welcome Home Ceremonies for veterans. She was an outstanding certified Therapy Dog. She also loved every single one of her patients, visitors and staff. She loved the M.A.S.T. team. However unfortunately, Zoe passed away too quickly, in December 2017.
Her wagging tail will be remembered always. And now her memory will live on!
In a post from Robert, he decided to give back and have Zoe’s legacy continue, thinking Zoe would want it this way. Even while grieving over the passing of his beloved companion, he chose to continue the tradition of bringing love and comfort though therapy dog work to those who need it the most. He offered to donate Zoe’s bright pink therapy dog vest to be presented to one of the next female K-9s to pass the Therapy Dog Certification Test for M.A.S.T.
And that dog was Jenna Patel. She was presented the special vest by Robert Messineo at the certification facility that evening after she passed the test. A group of M.A.S.T. volunteers were present to share in the joy of watching the heartwarming presentation first hand. We are proud to have the Messineos and the Patels as part of the M.A.S.T family. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Tearing up while smiling was not a hard feat.
The Messineos have a young therapy puppy, Zoe’s bother Eli, in the wings waiting for his day to shine when he turns one.
In the meantime, Jenna is ready to wear her new vest very proudly. It was a very special night for M.A.S.T.!
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