Bear is not a bear – he is a dog. But he is more than a dog. He is a friend, a companion, an aide … and a wish.
Make-A-Wish Northeast New York wish kid Jack met his wish and new best friend Bear, a chocolate Labrador puppy that will be trained as a service dog to be a companion and help with everyday tasks.
Shortly after the reveal at the Vischer Ferry Volunteer Fire Company, Jack, sister Peyton and the rest of the family quickly bonded with the ridiculously adorable Bear. (The name was chosen because it is a word Jack can say.)
“He's going to be a forever friend for him,” mom Meghan said. “He’s going to have a great bond with that dog that is going to be unbreakable.”
With family, friends, firefighters, wish granters Kirsten Broschinsky and Mary Ellen Olenyk and other well-wishers looking on, Jack, 3, squealed in delight as Bear frolicked in his yet-to-be-trained way.
Eventually, Jack, who has undergone a liver transplant and has cognitive challenges, will be able to rely on Bear to help him with tasks such as going up stairs and picking up things – as well as being a faithful friend.
This is a wish that will be with Jack and this Clifton Park family not just today and tomorrow, but for years to come, providing not just joy but a sense of independence for Jack.
“That’s why we went this route,” dad John said. “This is something that will be with him for the long term.”
The parents thanked Make-A-Wish Northeast New York. “It has been an amazing and humbling experience,” the mom said.
At the reveal, Jake dined on his favorite -- chicken fingers and fries – and a cake featuring a picture of his new best friend was served.
Grandparents beamed, and even media members delighted at the antics of the puppy, who after an hour or so curled up on a dog bed for a much-deserved nap.
In a matter of hours, Bear brought hope, strength and joy to a 3-year-old and all around him. He is more than a dog.
He is a wish.