September 1, 2019
AIR Volunteer Spotlight:
Marlene Sisti and Harley
Marlene Sisti’s encounters with a pet therapy team at her workplace, inspired her to become certified.

“I could see how much happiness another dog brought to the hospital,” said Marlene, who is a medical technologist at Penn Medicine-Princeton Medical Center in Plainsboro,

While training her dog, Harley, who turns 5 this November, she met co-founder Tricia Baker who encouraged her to join the AIR Dogs: Paws for Minds program .

“I thought my goal was to strictly be a therapy team in the hospital because that’s what I saw,” said Marlene. “But then I talked to Tricia and it’s been an eye opener, seeing how prevalent mental health is. “It’s just overwhelming to know that this is where our kids of today are. It’s just sad how much pressure kids are under.”

Marlene had found the perfect therapy dog when she saw a puppy and her litter mate in a pen by themselves at a pet adoption event. Marlene recalled thinking, “They’re cute. What’s their story?”

“I just really clicked with her,” she said.

Marlene adopted Harley, and her brother fostered Harley’s sibling, who was quickly adopted.

“From day one she’s been a very mellow dog,” said Marlene. “She was so calm and she didn’t bark, I thought there was something wrong.”

But there was nothing wrong with Harley, who has excelled at every event since they joined AIR in April 2018.

Marlene remembered when she and Harley went to Hightstown High School for a Coming Up for AIR presentation. She said one girl was off to the side and Harley went to her.
“Her facial expressions really changed when she saw Harley,” said Marlene. “Maybe she just wasn’t feeling great that day, but Harley really made a difference.”

Since joining, Marlene secured a $1,000 grant for Coming Up for Air™ presentations from Penn Medicine CAREs. Marlene’s and Harley’s therapy work with AIR and a photo of them, strengthened her grant application.“I saw how the kids reacted and what the dogs could do and said this is what I want to do,” she said. “It’s a rewarding experience to know that just bringing Harley somewhere could help them with anything they could be feeling.”

Their favorite visits include Hopewell Valley High and Notre Dame high schools and Mercer County Community College.

Marlene enjoys bowling and spending time with her family and she and her husband are avid skiers.

But her volunteer work has become an important part of her life, so much so that she often arranges her work schedule to attend AIR events.

“After every event I leave, I say to her, 'Harley we did a good thing. Don’t we feel good, Harley?’”
About Harley

Breed: Mixed Breed
Birthday: November 16
Favorite visit: Mercer County Community College
Favorite treat: cheese
Favorite activity: hiking in the Poconos
Upcoming September Events
Attitudes In Reverse invites parents/caregivers to join Carol Rickard, LCSW who will share de-stress tools for your students, 2nd grade and above. More info and register online here .
Who Should Attend:  Medical and behavioral healthcare providers; teachers and education adminis-trators; state legislators and policy-makers and their staff; others who have and/or work with children and adolescents. Register online here .
Taste of Hope - October 16, 2019
Come and enjoy outstanding cuisine prepared by Central NJ’s finest chefs and savor exceptional wine, beer and spirits while having fun supporting Attitudes in Reverse®. For more information, please click here .

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