Erica Vitale was taking a break from her shift as a server at Whitney Center’s Bistro when she noticed a small animal crate at the side of the road.
Curious, Vitale ventured over and with great trepidation cautiously maneuvered the crate so she could see inside. What greeted her was a tiny black dog, shaking, shivering and looking quite disheveled.
“I saw her little face and I called the front desk,” Vitale said. Several people came out and once they saw the little dog’s condition, as well as her sweet disposition, there was at once a unanimous decision to help her.
After going through the proper channels and bringing in Animal Control officers, who took possession of the little Chihuahua mix in an attempt to find her owner, a week later the 8 month old pup was available for adoption.
“She became our community dog,” said Gretchen Joslyn, who also works at Whitney Center. “She’s been wonderful for the whole community. She’s a nice bright spot.”
Dubbed Whitney, for obvious reasons, the little dog has settled in nicely. She spends her days at the front desk with receptionist Karen Cossaboom, who takes turns with Stephanie Sanders in accounting and the two share the responsibility of hosting Whitney nights and weekends in their own homes.
“I have a constant companion at the desk,” Cossaboom said. “She’s like my co-pilot.
Because residents were just as taken with Whitney as the staff was, everyone agreed to officially welcome her by hosting High Tea in her honor. As Sanders meandered through the crowd with Whitney in her arms she stopped frequently so anyone who wanted to could give the dog an affectionate pat on the head.
“A number of our residents have a cat or a dog,” Joslyn said. “We are certainly pet-friendly, but Whitney gives those who don’t have one a chance to enjoy her.”
When she gets a little older, Whitney will train to become a therapy dog.