Teen’s wish for a puppy becomes a powerful way to give back and share joy
Tony is an "outdoorsy" 13-year-old diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. His wish for an American golden retriever puppy changed his life and inspired him to share the joy of his wish with others. This courageous teen's story captures the true spirit of a wish and the holiday season.
Tony wished for a companion to provide friendship during the difficult days of battling his disease. “I wanted a friend one day because I was lonely,” he said. Tony recalled how a visit from a therapy dog in the hospital lifted his spirits. The idea for his wish began to take root.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Massachusetts and Rhode Island fulfilled Tony’s wish for a puppy of his very own. Tony named his new golden retriever, “Chester,” and calls the dog his “best friend.” The friendly pup is always by Tony’s side and helps Tony forget about his illness: a gift that Tony now wants to give to others.
Tony still remembers the therapy dog that inspired his wish and now he is going to train Chester to be a therapy dog! “He’s awesome in public and loves people,” Tony said. “Chester will be a great therapy dog.”
Once trained, Chester will bring joy to children battling serious illnesses and seniors in nursing homes. Tony is excited to begin Chester’s six-month training and has already shared photos and stories with his doctors.
“Tony wants to help now. He wants to share his best friend with everyone,” his mother Janice said. “Make-A-Wish changed our lives forever.”