August 27, 2020
When Heather Bring of Rhode Island, who battles two disabling medical conditions, applied for a service dog, she hoped that her new companion would help change her life. Then, one day, she got good news: A beautiful Golden Retriever mix named Marea was waiting to meet her.
The two instantly connected. Heather knew Marea was the perfect fit. “She’s pretty incredible,” Heather recently told Dogster.. “It’s hard to put that in words.”
But what Heather didn’t know was that Marea was not only about to change her life—but that she would she would come to the rescue when other animals were in need, too. Once Marea got acclimated, Heather brought her to the beach—and found that Marea had a calm, loving nature; and plenty of love to share.
Soon, Heather and Marea became volunteer first responders for Connecticuts’s Mystic Aquarium’s Animal Rescue Program. Marea is the first canine ever to hold the position at the large aquariuim, which is not far from Rhode Island.
.Dogster reports that, when the aquarium’s hotline gets a report of an animal that may need help, Heather and Marea race out to assess the situation. One of their goals is to keep people and pets away from marine mammals on the beach.
“I call it seal sitting,” Heather says. “We’ll sit out with a seal on a beach and stay far enough away, so he is not bothered. People will come up to us, instead of the seal. It gives us a way to educate people to stay away from the seal. We also talk about how they can help animals by picking up trash.”
In the meantime, Heather monitors the seal to see if the animal is entangled in plastic or appears to need help. “Sometimes seals are just sunning themselves and not stranded,” she says.
Both the woman and the dog enjoy the work. “She is an extension of myself,” Heather says. “After everything I’ve had to endure [physically], having her by my side is giving me more power and confidence to get out there and do what we need to do to help the environment and help other animals.”
Research contact: @dogster