By Jamie Lasorsa, Reporter
In a world where you can be anything….be a Teagan! I met this wonderfully selfless, spunky little gal recently and I can’t stop smiling when I think about how big her heart is. When Princeton resident Teagan McMullin turned five earlier this year, her mom talked with her about how good it feels when you donate to an organization which helps others. Her mom asked her who she would like to raise awareness for on her birthday and Teagan knew just what she wanted to do!
You see, Teagan has a soft spot for doggies! Big ones, little ones, black ones, brown ones, pure-bred or mix…if it’s furry, barks and gives kisses, she is all about it! Teagan’s older brother Logan shared one of his favorite books with her, “Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship” by Jessica Kensky & Patrick Downes and this helped foster that love for pups. The book tells the tale of a young girl and her service dog named “Rescue”, and how they form a bonding friendship in which, with Rescue’s help, Jessica overcomes adversity and thrives after losing both her legs in an accident.
Although the book is adapted for a younger audience, and features a young girl, this book is based on the true story of author Jessica Kensky, an oncology nurse and marathon runner, who found herself facing a double leg amputation after surviving the Boston Marathon bombing. Jessica and her husband (co-author Patrick Downes) found writing this book to be a way that Jessica could share her story and help others. This has become one of Teagan’s favorite books.
When Colleen, Teagan’s mom, asked her who she would like her friends to bring birthday gifts for, Teagan knew just what she wanted to do! NEADS (National Education for Assistance Dog Services and Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans), is a Princeton based non-profit organization which was formed in 1976 and trains service dogs to help individuals with disabilities. With Teagan’s love of dogs, this was a perfect match!
Teagan asked her friends and family to bring donations for NEADS instead of birthday gifts for herself, and her guests certainly delivered! Dog treats, nail clippers, leashes, shampoo, dog toys and LOTS of peanut butter all came to support Teagan and her cause. She was so excited to personally deliver all the goodies to the NEADS location and meet “Harper” one of the 4-legged representatives of the organization.
Teagan tells me that her favorite type of dog is a Husky. She showed me, while adorned in her doggie outfit of ears and tail, lots of books she likes to read about dogs and all the stuffed dogs she has too. She enjoys watching any dog movie, Lady and the Tramp and 101 Dalmatians being at the top of the list.
Teagan loved the book “Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship” so much, that she donated a copy, along with a stuffed NEADS service dog, to her preschool; Wachusett Montessori School of Holden. Now other children can snuggle with the stuffed pup while reading about Jessica and Rescue’s special friendship.
Although she doesn’t have a dog of her own yet, she gives a very compelling plea. She showed me a book about Saint Bernard’s and said she would love to have a dog to “pull me through the snow”. I have a feeling Teagan’s love for dogs is not going to dim anytime soon. If you are interested in donating to NEADS also, you can visit their website at: NEADS.org, so, in a world where you can be anything…you TOO can be a Teagan!