Dr. Samuel B. Ross, Jr. (1928-2018) founded Green Chimneys, a partner of the A&P Sommer Foundation, in Brewster, New York in 1947. Green Chimneys is a unique school, where animal-assisted interventions and nature-based initiatives are fundamental components of educational programs. This approach has responded to the needs of thousands of children and effectively helped them to overcome learning and social difficulties.
Ross describes the dogs that have played a variety of roles throughout his lifetime. « My parents had a fox terrier. Then came Lassie, a Scottie who would come to visit me at boarding school. Between visits, I would seek out principal’s wire fox. When you are the youngest in the school, there is nothing more comforting than a dog. During a trip to Europe, my parents sent me to a Swiss boarding school where I fell in love with Poochy, the headmaster’s fox terrior. He didn’t understand English, so I spoke to him in French — which got me to learn the language! I adopted a rat terrior when was at university, and when my father purchased Green Chimneys for me in 1947, I got a collie. An Irish setter came next, a gift, and when Myra and I married in 1954, we received a boxer as a wedding present. We subsequently had two more boxers as well as an Afghan hound. Afghans are said to be vegetarians, but ours liked to lick the barbeque. We’ve also had laboradors, a Great Dane, a Scottish terrior, a Cairn terrior, and finally Spike, our pomeranian. He is my partner and never leaves my side. In fact, all Green Chimneys dogs serve a purpose; even staff members’ dogs make themselves useful. In the past twenty years, we’ve trained dogs to help people with handicaps. »