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Special Author Visit

Special Author Visit
Posted on 04/25/2019
rescue and jessicaBy Sarah Pennell, Librarian & Aislyn McCabe, 4th Grader

Junior Kindergarten - 2nd grade students at the Morse School had an exciting author visit on April 23. Jessica Kensky and her husband Patrick Downes visited the Morse School to share their book Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship. This book is about the real life animal partnership that began after Jessica was injured in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. They live in our school neighborhood and kindly offered to come share their book, their experience, and their smart black lab service dog, Rescue. During the visit, Jessica and Patrick shared that Rescue was named Dog of the Year by the ASPCA in 2017 and had him demonstrate a few of his helpful service skills he has been trained to do such as speak (to alert that Jessica needs help), find a phone (it is scented with vanilla extract to make it easier to locate), and fetch (items on the floor such as car keys).

Ms. Pennell, Morse librarian, read this book to all JK-2 children during their library time the week before vacation so students would be familiar with Rescue and Jessica and could record questions they had. During their visit, while Rescue happily napped in his firehouse tent, Jessica and Patrick kindly answered many of these questions such as "how did you get partnered with Rescue?", "how do you take your leg off?", and "how did you hurt your legs?".

rescue and jessicaSome helpful advice Jessica offered to our students was how to approach a service animal. Start by acknowledging that the dog is working- "I see that your dog is working, but if you have the time, can I please pet your dog?" If the person and dog have the time, the answer might be yes, but it is totally okay if the answer is no, because the person might be in a rush or the dog/person might not be comfortable with strangers.