“Thom and Patty gave an exciting demonstration of training techniques, and our children were totally engrossed in watching the labs work out,” said Mary-Margaret Pekow, CCOC executive director. “We are extremely grateful to them for sharing this with our summer program. It was really rewarding and exciting for us to see the kids enjoy our demonstration, and we know Philip and Leela really enjoyed them too," Thom said.
“The two dogs are Labrador retrievers. Thom trains yellow lab, K9 Philip, and his wife, Patty, trains black lab, K9 Leela,” Pekow said. Their training focuses on preparing themselves and the dogs to become certified and operational for deployment In searches that require dogs to perform tasks related to human remains detection, evidence searches and water recovery of drowning victims.
According to Thom Benedetto, the use of dogs in search and rescue is a valuable component in natural disasters, wilderness tracking, mass casualty events, an in locating missing people. He has been a member of the International Police Work Dog Association training in search and rescue since 2016. Together, he and K9 Philip have traveled thousands of miles throughout the state and northeast for K9 training. Thom and Patty are both active members of the Oswego County Search and Rescue Team and have participated in many searches throughout New York State.
The CYO Summer Recreation program is offered free to children in 2nd grade through 8th grade in Oswego County (children can be entering 2nd grade in September). The program will be running until August 31st. Activities in the program include; daily recreational activities, outdoor recreation at local parks, special presentations and awareness groups, arts and crafts and other fun activities. Trained staff supervises all activities and assists all participants as needed to ensure that they receive the full benefits of the program as well as help in their physical and emotional development.
In addition, children receive a free breakfast and lunch daily through the USDA Summer Feeding Program sponsored by the Food Bank of Central New York or they can bring their own meals if they wish, Pekow said.
The CYO Summer Recreation program is funded in part by the United Way of Greater Oswego County, the NYS Office of Children and Families, and the City-County Youth Bureau.
For more information on the program please contact Mike Savona, CYO supervisor, at 598-3980 ext. 281.