BY HILLARY VIDERS - SPECIAL TO NORTHERN VALLEY PRESS
On Sept. 22, a car show for dogs was hosted by the Englewood Field Club. The event, attended by several hundred people, was spearheaded by Ivan Arguello, the president of the club.
From 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., the show delighted attendees and raised money for Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the raising and training of assistance dogs for the disabled. As of April 2017, CCI has sponsored and trained more than 5,000 dogs that are given free to people with disabilities.
Along the lawn of the field club there was a dazzling array of several dozen restored and exotic cars, including a lineup of Lamborghinis and Ferraris, a Packard, a McLaren, and a Willys and other vehicles from the World War II era.
In addition to the excitement of these fabulous rides, the show featured over two dozen service puppy raisers and dog owners, including Ivan and Mary Arguello of Tenafly and their son, Matthew. They brought along Maddie, the puppy that they have been raising.
Alex Hutchinson, a professional trainer from CCI, gave a demonstration of some of the ways that these assistance dogs help their recipients. Using Heidi, a black lab, she showed how the dog can bark continuously to protect its owner. The dog also was able to respond to numerous commands such as retrieving objects and even putting a $20 bill in the CCI donation jar.
At 1 p.m., everyone gathered around the podium to honor Canine Companions for Independence volunteer puppy raiser Caryl Swain. An Englewood resident, Swain has raised CCI puppies for 10 years and she has done a huge amount of fundraising for the organization.
Swainʼs daughter, Laura, gave a speech detailing how attentive and caring her mother had been all through her life, applauding all of her accomplishments, particularly in athletics, and how she was now honored to return that favor.
Standing next to Swain and Laura were her two granddaughters, Alia and Jaden, as Realf Schermer, deputy chief of staff to District 37 Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson, presented her with a citation from the Senate and General Assembly of New Jersey in appreciation for all her service to CCI. The organization itself also received a New Jersey Senate and Assembly citation.
Following Schermerʼs remarks, Carol Rauscher, president of the Englewood Chamber of Commerce, presented Swain with a proclamation from the City of Englewood.
Several of the dog owners who attended the show at the Englewood Field Club had wonderful things to say about their canine companions.
One gentleman in a wheelchair said, “My dog Webster (a 2-year-old yellow lab) can pull me around, open doors and carry things around for me.”
Susan Stern, also in a wheelchair, said, “When I became paralyzed, I turned into a recluse. But my wonderful dog, Casanova, transformed me into a really social person. Casanova understands 75 words and can even take my shoes and socks off for me. I canʼt imagine my life without him!”