Steven & Jack

Part of the Gabriel’s Angels mission is to help children develop empathy for others, which in turn helps break the cycle of violence that has clouded the young lives of many we see. I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Steven at a group home for teenage boys. Steven and six other boys were anxiously awaiting the arrival of Jack, their friend and Gabriel’s Angels therapy dog.

Jack and his human companion had been visiting the facility, and many of the same boys, for several months. The boys greeted Jack like he was a rock star, and you can bet Jack loved every minute of it. Throughout the visit, the boys had the chance to spend time with Jack, share their feelings about him, and even brush him.

They enjoyed the unconditional love and respect that Jack showed them. I’m sure they had received very little of both in their lives. But what most of them loved best was taking Jack for short walks and having Jack obey their commands.

Steven told me how meeting and becoming friends with Jack has really changed his viewpoint on how to treat animals and other people. Not only was Steven abused, but he also witnessed and participated in the abuse of animals. His relationship with Jack changed everything. Today, he would never even think of abusing an animal, or another person. And that is major progress.

While Steven has a long road ahead of him, and many choices to make as to how he is going to live his life, this simple interaction with Jack, and Steven’s new found respect and empathy will help him shape a better future for himself, and perhaps one day, his own children.

~ Bill A., Pet Therapy supporter