The Power of Pets

Michael Conroy – Assistant to the Vice President

I, like most people, have an immense amount of love and adoration for dogs. This affection started when my parents brought home a little, yet mighty Maltese. As my childhood stories revolved around Touchdown Jesus and as our walls were coated in Blue and Gold, we, like many Notre Dame fans, called him Gipper. Later, he was complimented by my best friend at the time, Maisy. She was a beautiful yellow Labrador with a personality that you could only dream of for a family pet. 

 Every day when I came home from elementary school, I was greeted by two dogs, eight paws and a million kisses. It was pure joy, pure happiness. 

 When I was young, I had an affinity towards dogs because they were cute, fluffy, and had the energy to entertain a rambunctious eight-year-old. At that age, it was a dog’s presence that I always loved. They would lay with me when I was home sick from school and even did the same when I played hooky, with no judgement of course.  

 Even though I felt the impact of dogs at that age, I never quite understood it. It wasn’t until I spent time with Golden PAWS Assistance Dogs that I started to understand the true Power of Pets.

Golden PAWS Assistance Dogs is an organization that trains dogs to serve wounded veterans and children with disabilities. Fortunately for me, I started on the PBS Contractors project team that renovated the old Harley Davidson Building and helped turn it into the state-of-the-art training facility and new home for Golden PAWS. It was there where I met the founder and CEO of the organization, Jeannie Bates. 

 In my time with Jeannie, I was enlightened by the breadth of a dog’s influence on one’s physical and mental health. While dogs certainly bring happiness and joy to one, they also have the innate ability to calm, to serve, and to be loyal. For a service animal, that makes a dog the perfect match for a wounded veteran or a child with a disability. Combining a dog’s natural connection to humans with Jeannie and her team’s training, these dogs truly transform human lives. 

 Pets are more than animals. Pets are healers, counselors, and companions.  

 When you don’t have a hand, they’ll be your hand. When you don’t have confidence, they will be your confidence. 

 That is the Power of Pets.