And the winner is…

BISCOTTI Elected Pet Mayor of Toms River!

Ryan Gillies, Biscotti, Toms River Mayor Kelaher, Tori Lattig

Ryan Gillies, Biscotti, Toms River Mayor Kelaher, Tori Lattig

Ocean County – With over 10,000 votes cast, 5-year old terrier mix Biscotti won the race with 33% of the vote.  An active member of Caregiver Canines®, Biscotti is the first duly elected Pet Mayor of Toms River. Also in the hotly contested race were 4 additional certified pet therapy dogs who are now part of Toms River’s “Pet Cabinet.” Election results were announced on October 16th by Animal Planet’s Victoria Stilwell on WOBM’s Morning Show with Shawn Michaels and Sue Moll.   Pet Mayor Biscotti is now ready to serve as a “Good Will” Ambassador and attend ribbon cuttings, store openings, health fairs, etc. To reach Biscotti, or request her presence at your event, call Caregiver Canines® Coordinator Danielle Maley at 732-505-2273 ext. 202, or email her at Daniellem@caregivervolunteers.org.

The election was held to raise awareness of Caregiver Canines®, a free program offered by Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey (CVCJ).  Through this program, the Canines, certified therapy dogs, and their handler visit homebound frail elderly of Ocean County, bringing unconditional love and smiles to the seniors they visit. To see Caregiver Canines in action and read their stories, you can “LIKE” them on facebook.com/caregivercanines.

The ‘human’ Mayor of Toms River, Tom Kelaher, was also on hand for the big announcement.  “I’m delighted to have been a part of this effort”, said Mayor Kelaher.  “Anything we can do to promote CVCJ and help our seniors is great with me”, he said. Biscotti with be present at Township and County special events through her one-year tenure as Pet Mayor.

Biscotti and her owner/ handler Ryan Gilles have been involved with the program for two years and regularly visit two seniors enrolled with CVCJ.  There are presently 30 Caregiver Canines® in the program according to the CVCJ program coordinator, Danielle Maley.  “We are delighted with the progress and growth of the program over the past five years”, said Maley.  She continued “We are always looking to welcome new pets as well as new clients who would love a visit from one of our four-legged friends.”

Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey (CVCJ) is a non-profit organization, dependent on donations and grants. Since 1993 CVCJ has been dedicated to assisting the frail and homebound elderly with everyday tasks enabling them to remain independent in their own homes. All services provided are free.  Over 900 volunteers assist more than 2000 senior citizens each month with transportation to medical appointments, grocery shopping, relief for Alzheimer’s disease caregivers, reassuring telephone calls, friendly/pet visits. CVCJ has two locations serving Ocean County: Toms River, 253 Chestnut Street, and Whiting, 30 Lacey Road. For more information and to learn about volunteer opportunities, call Mary A. Malagiere, 732-505-2273 ext. 211 or visit www.caregivervolunteers.org.  “LIKE” them on Facebook at facebook.com/caregivervolunteers and facebook.com/caregivercanines.

Photo Credit: WOBM

Written By:  Mary O. Malagiere

Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey

253 Chestnut St.

Toms River, NJ 08753

732-505-2273 ext. 211

marym@caregivervolunteers.org