Comet: A Westhampton service dog of many tales

Staff Writer
Published: 7/29/2021 4:36:36 PM

WESTHAMPTON — Nancy Ronan’s dog Comet is a special dog, and she’s written a book that stars him and allows those who love Comet to enjoy his company, even when he can’t actually be present.

Comet is a 6-year-old golden retriever who works with Ronan as a service dog. One of the jobs they do is at Westhampton Elementary School, where young children read to Comet as a reading buddy.

“He loves everyone but he loves kids the most,” Ronan said.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, Comet has not been able to visit children in school.

“They miss Comet,” Ronan said.

She also said that the dog “very much” misses the kids, and that he did do reading time with some of them at the Westhampton Public Library recently — his first service with them since the spring of 2020.

As part of her work with Comet, Ronan wrote a book, “Comet Goes Geocaching,” which the kids could read to their furry friend. When the pandemic made it so Comet couldn’t see the kids, Ronan created a paperback version of the book. Her daughter, author Maeve Ronan, helped her in getting the book out.

“Comet Goes Geocaching” features photos of Comet as well as Ronan’s other golden retriever, Clementine. It tells of his adventures geocaching, which Ronan described as “a GPS-enabled outdoor treasure hunt.”

Geocaching involves people finding objects using GPS coordinates. Some of the objects also contain trinkets, and if you take a trinket you’re supposed to leave one behind.

Ronan said that one of the reasons she wrote the book was to encourage kids and families to go outside. She said that she started geocaching with her daughters about 10 years ago, but started doing it regularly alongside Comet when he was 1 year old.

“Comet Goes Geocaching” is available through Amazon, and through Ronan directly. Copies bought from Ronan are “signed” with a stamp modeled after Comet’s paw. These autographed books are $13, with a dollar from each of the sales going to Bright Spot Therapy Dogs. Those who wish to order one can email Ronan at nronan01@gmail.com.

Comet also works as a therapy dog in retirement and nursing homes, and with college students during finals.

Ronan is working on a second book involving Comet, “Comet Goes to the Farm.” It features pictures with Comet and a wide variety of local farm animals including baby chicks, piglets, horses and alpacas.

“He’s a very good boy about getting his photo taken,” Ronan said.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.


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