Borough President Vito Fossella unveiled an animal education workshop for fourth-graders in honor of Tommy Monahan whose love for animals was so natural that he didn’t think twice when he ran into his burning home to rescue his Yorkshire terrier and lizard on Dec. 17, 2007. Tommy was 9-years-old when he lost his life in his heroic attempt to save his pets.
Pet Talk was launched as a pilot program yesterday at PS 36 in Annadale, where Tommy was a student. As part of the program, an educator from the Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) will visit fourth-grade classrooms to present interactive lessons that emphasize the emotional connection to our pets and the importance of pet adoption.
"This is a test program. We’re going to learn and see what best works at PS 36, and then where it needs to be tweaked, we’ll do so," said Borough President Fossella. "Our goal is to expand it to every school on Staten Island, public and non-public, and then if the mayor and others in the Department of Education see the measure of success here, we’ll expand it citywide.”
He was joined by Tommy’s family and representatives from ACC at PS 36.
Tommy’s sister, Gabrielle Monahan, worked with the Borough President’s office to create the Pet Talk program soon after becoming a teacher.
“I took that as kind of my brother saying he is going to follow me, no matter what I do,” she said. “My family is really excited for this next step in remembering him and building his legacy even more.”
That legacy was also memorialized in October when Vito hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony in October for the renovated Animal Care Center in Charleston -- its lobby renamed for Tommy.