4 | September 6, 2018 | The New Lenox Patriot News

New Lenox man steps in the ring with his horse, service dog

PAWS Illinois event

took place at Francis

Youth Field

Mary Compton

Freelance Reporter

Waiting by the gate at the

Francis Field Fairgrounds in

New Lenox, John Greenan

sat high in the saddle of

his horse Cappuccino. As

Greenan’s name was announced,

he knew he was

about to change history.

Trotting beside his horse was

John’s service dog, Buggs.

“We’re the first service

dog and companion competing

doing halter together,”

said Greenan, at the PAWS

Illinois, NFP Open Horse

Show on Aug. 26. “Today

we’re doing western halter

and walk trot 39 and over.”

As Greenan joined other

riders in the arena, he stopped

and showed the halter of Cappuccino

to the judge.

“I’ve been training halter

with Nova Quarter Horses

in Mokena for about a year,”

Greenan said. “I started riding

with the riding adaptive

program for people with disabilities

to overcome their

disabilities. Since I couldn’t

show before riding, the owner

thought we could do halter

together and incorporate

my service dog.”

For the Orland Park resident,

being in the arena has been

nothing short of a miracle.

“Two weeks ago I began

to start riding again after

not being able to for the last

eight months,” Greenan said.

“I’ve had 10 different surgeries

in the past 13 months

due to several medical issues

due to my MS. The day that I

got the OK to go back riding,

I was riding that afternoon.”

The adaptive riding program

at Nova Quarter Horses

has benefited Greenan

mentally as well as physically.

“With my MS, you

lose muscle dexterity and

strength,” he said. “With this

disease I’ve had numbness in

my right leg. I’ve been riding

the last year, and the numbness

has gone away. I’ve

been able to build up those

muscles by riding horses.

“This means the world

to me. To be able to come

out here today and ride as

an equal means the world

to me. Coming out today

gives Nova Quarter Horses’

adaptive riding program an

opportunity for people to

focus on disabilities and it

gives us a chance to because

you have a disability doesn’t

mean you’re disabled.

“ ... We’re encouraging

our veterans to get involved

in horses. They overcome

their fear of Post Traumatic

Stress with the public. We

are not-for-profit so K9 For

Veterans is working on different

sponsorships. We’re

looking for businesses and

the public to help finance

a riding program for veterans.”

The horse show was hosted

by PAWS Illinois, a non

profit organization that partners

with K9 For Veterans.

Michael Tellerino, founder

and CEO of K9 For Veterans

and PAWS Illinois, was

Daniel Prentice (right), of Campton Hills, judges John

Greenan and his horse at the horse show. Greenan’s

service dog Buggs went in the ring with them during

competition. Mary Compton/22nd Century Media

at the arena to lend his support

and promote both organizations.

“It’s the first time that a

service dog is allowed to be

in an area to test and show a

horse with a dog,” Tellerino

said. “This is going to open

the doors not only for veterans

but other people with

service dogs.”

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