Eight years ago, Gina Marchino adopted an eight-week old mutt puppy from a shelter. The young pup, who soon became known as Greta, was listed by the shelter as a Boxer/Boston Terrier mix, but Gina’s friends were constantly asking her if Greta was a pit bull. Not knowing much about the breed, Gina decided to read up on pit bulls to find out if that was in fact what Greta was. She quickly learned of the tormented history of pit bulls and the many ways in which they are horribly treated as a result of their bad reputation as a breed.
Because of Greta, Gina felt inspired to educate the public on the truth about pit bulls. She wanted people to know that the bad reputation the breed has gained is unjust and simply inaccurate, and she has worked to help clear their name in several venues, including serving on the Board of a pit rescue organization and even opening up her home to foster pit bulls looking for their forever families.
Gina’s special bond with Greta also led her to get involved with Paws & Think, where she was excited at the opportunity for both of them to be able to volunteer. “Greta has a lot of love to share and she’s changed who I am. It didn’t seem fair to keep that all to myself.” Greta, who is a very social animal and loves the attention she receives as part of a Paws & Think therapy team, enjoys volunteering as much as Gina, who says it is rewarding to do something good for humanity with her best friend.
Together, Gina and Greta visit an adult day care for the developmentally disabled where they are able to bring joy to many just by simply stopping in to say hello. Gina recalls the impact she saw on their first visit, when many of the residents seemed to light up like the sun when she and Greta walked in: “It’s amazing that just having a dog around changes people’s moods immediately and makes them forget their troubles for a while.”