“One of Maia and Riggs kidlets has turned into such a handsome and sensitive fella. We are so very proud of him and the wonderful job he does in bringing happiness to everyone he touches. Thank you Donna and family for doing such a wonderful job with him.”

Socrates Became a therapy dog in 2012. He loves going to places and providing comfort to anyone he meets. He intuitively knows how to act when meeting someone. Sometimes he is quiet and sometimes animated. He enjoys his visits and has a real power to connect with everyone he meets. He recently joined K9 First Responders and is part of a core group of therapy dogs that respond to situations requiring crisis management. Where the affected individuals may benefit from the comfort of a dog.


Here is a fun article for the paper featuring Socrate :


Every Dog needs a job – but what exactly is a job?

Every other Sunday Mr. Socrates goes to work and performs a job.  His job is to assist Paula Gallo, Lead Manager at the Home Depot  – New Milford, Connecticut – in finding customers who would like to receive a free-estimate for any of their home renovation needs.  When at the store, associates always go out of their way to welcome Mr. Socs and their Home Depot customers.  No matter who is interacting with Mr. Socs, he knows the rules when working:  he is expected to behave in a certain way till his hour long shift is over and then off to the car he goes for a tasty treat.  That’s the routine and it never changes.  When returning home from work, Mr. Socs is tired and usually takes a long nap.  All dogs need a job.  However, some owners may have difficulty finding the right job for their dog.  Typically, the reason(s) why owners don’t find their dog a job can boil down to one of the following:


  • They may not realize that finding a job for their dog doesn’t need to be complicated.
  • They may not realize the importance of giving their dog a job.
  • They may not realize that all dogs can be given a job with a bit of time and effort.


Finding a job for your dog doesn’t have to be complicated.  A job doesn’t mean your pet has to become an AKC champion or to learn to sniff out bombs.  The good news is that a job can be much simpler and all dogs, no matter what issues they have, can learn a job.  Here’s the criteria to think about when finding a job for your dog:

  • A job is an activity or series of activities that provides an opportunity for mental and/or physical stimulation.
  • A job is performed regularly and routinely.
  • The behavior(s) that are expected when your dog is performing his job are consistent.
  • A job well done is always reinforced/rewarded.


Why is it important to find your dog a job?  We have all heard the saying – A tired dog is a good dog!!.  Dogs who have a job tend to display less behavioral issues and are calmer due to the additional mental and/or physical stimulation they receive.  A job creates the opportunity for your dog to become a thinking dog.  Thinking dogs tend to display less behavioral issues.  Many dogs who live in an environment lacking of mental and/or physical stimulation often find their own creative ways to stimulate their mind and body – digging, barking, chewing, hyperactivity, attention seeking behaviors, chasing the cat and much, much more…
Every dog can have a job:

Use your imagination and the tips below as a guide to begin finding a job for your dog today.


  • When going for a walk, have your dog sit at all curbs, stop signs and when greeting new people.
  • Have your dog sit and wait before exiting a door or their crate.
  • Teach your dog go to his crate or a special place on cue.
  • Have your dog sit and wait before eating his dinner.
  • Teach your dog to go to a specific spot while you are eating your dinner.
  • Teach your dog to eat his food out of interactive toys. Premier Pet Products offers some great products for this.
  • Teach your dog to bring you his leash when going on a walk.
  • Have your dog pick up and place their toys in a toy box or basket.
  • In the morning, establish a routine to have your dog greet and wake everyone up.
  • Teach your dog to find which cup the treat is hidden under.  Start with one cup and then increase the number of cups once he has mastered the previous level.
  • Teach your dog to find objects hidden in the house.
  • When playing catch with your dog  – have him sit and wait before retrieving the ball.
  • Enroll your dog into a group training classes (Basic Obedience, Canine Good Citizen, Agility and Rally are some great ways to help your dog become a thinking dog).


Bottom-Line:  Every dog needs a job.  Dogs who have been given a job tend to be more emotionally balanced and calmer due to the additional mental and/or physical stimulation they receive.

Donna Gleason – TLC Dog Trainer resides in Sherman, CT.  She is a certified professional dog trainer (CPDT-KA) with a Masters in Behavior Modification.  She offers professional in-home dog training (specializing in puppy education, basic obedience and behavior modification) as well as group puppy/basic obedience classes.  Donna is a member of APDT, Delta Society, Shelter Animal Reiki Association, Delta Society and consulting trainer for Paw-Safe Animal Rescue.  To reach Donna call 203.241.4449 or visit her website @


Therapy dogs did more than imagined after Law stabbing

Dogs and handlers were honored earlier this month in Milford


Therapy dogs did more than school officials thought possible when they were brought in to help comfort students and staff after the death of Maren Sanchez April 25.

City officials recently issued a proclamation in honor of the dogs, and school officials thanked the handlers and everyone else who came to their emotional support after the fatal stabbing at their school.

Mayor Ben Blake’s proclamation, which he read at this month’s Board of Aldermen’s meeting, noted the therapeutic effects dogs have had since the 9th Century. He thanked representatives of Pet Partners, formerly Delta Society, and Newtown Kindness, a non-profit organization founded in memory of Charlotte Bacon, a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.

“Charlotte’s Litter is a program of Newtown Kindness created by Charlotte’s parents and brother, not only because of Charlotte’s love for dogs, but also due to their own personal experiences with dogs in the wake of tragedy,” Mayor Blake said.

Newtown Kindness, through its program Charlotte’s Litter, facilitated the participation of Pet Partners and also helped to coordinate the dog teams in Milford — 55 volunteers along with their respective therapy dogs.

Blake’s proclamation thanked a number of dogs and their handlers by name: Bradford Cole with his dog, Spartacus, plus Steve Berko, with his dog, Dascha; Kate Nicoll with her dog, Muffin, and Donna Gleason with her dog, Socrates.

“They not only coordinated all the dog teams but were also in the field themselves with their therapy dogs,” Blake said.

Jonathan Law Principal Fran Thompson said the dogs and their handlers, who were at the school and a number of events after the stabbing, were remarkable.

“You made this very difficult process a lot better, and we have a long way to go,” Thompson said.

Maren Sanchez, 16, was stabbed at school April 25, the day she would have attended her junior prom. Fellow student Christopher Plaskon, now 17, is in jail, charged with her murder. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge, and his lawyers expect to base that plea on Plaskon’s emotional health. Social media accounts indicated after the stabbing that Plaskon killed Maren because she was not going to the prom with him.

School Supt. Dr. Elizabeth Feser said the dogs came in during the days after the stabbing and that she was struck by the number of students who gravitated to them and just petted them.

“You could see the comfort,” Feser said. “You made a difference beyond what anyone would have imagined.”

Spartacus, a big, furry Akita, was brought to the junior prom, which was postponed from its original date. Dr. Feser said the dog was a big comfort at the event and “the hit of the junior prom.”

Dr. Feser thanked others, too, during the July aldermen’s meeting: The Department of Human Services, Bridges staff who offered counseling for students and staff, and the Jonathan Law High School staff, “whose courage was beyond what we could have hoped for.”

She also thanked local police. Among other support from the Milford police, local police took the junior class to Quassy Amusement Park as the school year drew to an end so they could relax and enjoy themselves.

State Rep. James Maroney offered a citation to the pet handlers, too, on behalf of Milford’s representatives in Hartford. “This is a citation I wish we didn’t have to give,” Maroney said, but he added that Milford is a small city with a big heart, and the volunteer efforts of so many people and groups after Maren’s death helped to demonstrate that.