At the unveiling of Sanford therapy dog, Santino’s, official portrait, Founder David Green gave the following presentation:
“It is a great honor for me to be officiating at the unveiling of the official portrait of Santino Green, to be known henceforth as the “Lord Santino Portrait”. Santino, while still a young man, has already lead an epic life. Born in the hills of Cascade, Michigan on a spring day in the year 2014, Santino’s life began with a struggle that few of his canine brothers survive. He was the last of the litter, taken for dead, being wrapped in a shroud for burial. But he fought back and survived, thanks in great measure to months of care given by his sister, Jacqueline Green.
Having escaped death at birth, the young Santino faced more challenges. His birth trauma left him unable to follow his father Odin, a legend at Westminster, into the champion show dog business. He had to find another path. Fortunately he was adopted by the Green Family and set out to become a therapy dog for the men and women in residence at the Sanford Houses. After months of long and arduous instruction by Jenn Gavin, master canine trainer and Founder of A Pleasant Dog, Santino achieved his dream and fulfilled his destiny to serve as the Chief Therapy Dog of Sanford Addiction Treatment Centers.
But soon tragedy struck. Not once but twice. While foraging in the woods of East Grand Rapids, Santino ate a wild and highly toxic and deadly mushroom. Lingering near death, Santino fought back and survived once again. A second, equally life-threatening incident occurred months later. In response to the devastating trauma of his Father David’s eight-day absence from home, Santino sought comfort as only he knew how, innately driven by the ancient patterns of his for-bearers. He ate one-half of his paw print dog blanket, resulting in emergency surgery and a $2,000 vet bill that his Mother has kept secret from Santino’s Father to this very day. From this too he survived.
It is through these tragedies that Santino has developed the passion for comforting Sanford clients. Whether it is a soft paw on their lap, a knowing gaze of understanding, or just a comforting presence at their feet, Santino is a humble servant who expects nothing from those he serves: except an over-sized Milk Bone Dog Biscuit or an illicit scrap of food served under the dining room table.
He is our Pleasant Dog. And while we hope and pray that he will have a long life, now, with this grand portrait, Santino, Lord Santino, will have an eternal presence in this Great House – Sanford House at Cherry Street for Women.
And now for the unveiling. I have asked Jenn Gavin and Auntie Lori, Santino’s keeper here at Sanford House, to unveil Lord Santino. I must also give credit to photographer Alec Green and Marilyn Spiller, art consultant.
“Please unveil the portrait of Santino Green.”