Dennis Bataille and his wife have always loved and had dogs. A year and a half ago they decided to adopt a Samoyed puppy named Abi and train him to be a therapy dog.

Samoyeds are known to be a top breed for therapy dogs, so they had high hopes for Abi despite her young age. They enrolled Abi in obedience training with Donna Downs Dog Training and then followed that up with therapy dog training. In March 2017 Abi and Dennis became a certified therapy dog team – Team Abi.


“Abi is doing great and this is an awesome experience for the patients, her and me,” said Dennis. “I was a patient at Bacharach 10 years ago, so I can understand what it is like to be stuck in the same room for a while. Visiting different hospitals, rehabilitation centers, libraries and more are a great way for me to give back and help keep Abi active.”


Abi and Dennis’ therapy sessions usually last for an hour in order to ensure that Abi does not become too mentally exhausted.


“Therapy dogs can really help people take their mind off of something,” said Dennis. “They can ease boredom, give people the motivation to complete a tough activity and bring back happy memories of their dog. They also have a way of bringing patients out of their shell. I’ve seen patients who don’t like to talk, speak to Abi.”


Dennis and Abi will be attending this year’s Ability Fair. They will be walking around and trying to meet as many people as they can. Dennis also will be available to answer any questions about raising a therapy dog.
Join us at the third annual Ability Fair July 26 from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Stockton University Campus Center. Meet more than 60 vendors with products and services designed to help you discover new ways to greater independence. Register for free at For more information and to learn about free transportation call Jamie Hoagland at 609-748-5250.


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