Jet Takes Off Into a Life of Service


Sarah Chimenti, Staff Writer

Farmingdale’s Favorite Dog Moves on to the Next Step of His Training


Service dogs are essential for us in this world. It takes a lot of time, commitment, and responsibility to care for and train a service animal. Mr. Falcones, an ENL teacher at Farmingdale High School, took Jet in from Northeast Regional Training Center and prepared him with the basic necessities to be a service dog. Falcones applied during the pandemic and received Jet in July 2021. He had Jett for a little over a year and a half.

In order to acquire a service animal to train, there are a lot of interviews and applications. Falcones says that you apply with an online application, followed by a phone interview and eventually a home visit. On the phone interview, they ask: Why do you want to help this dog? What experience do you have? Are you going to be able to help this dog be successful? Will you be able to give him back eventually? Mr. Falcones says that he loves what the Northeast Regional Training Center does for animals and people, and he is happy to help.

There are so many different responsibilities for training a service animal. Mr. Falcones put all of his time and effort into training him; taking him to vet appointments, buying him food, different toys, a bed, and general obedience training. Pretty much the only thing that the organization provided for him was the puppy training classes two times a month. In these training sessions, Jet learned up to fifty different commands, and he will learn to do many tasks such as turn off the lights and open doors. Falcones was responsible for the basic training. Jet can be used anywhere in the future; he could help someone in a wheelchair or he can be in a children’s hospital for kids with cancer trying to make them smile during a chemotherapy session. Jet might assist soldiers, police, or firefighters suffering from PTSD. In a courthouse, if a child is too traumatized to talk, then sometimes they will have a service dog lay down under the stand and have them pet the dog as they are speaking to the lawyers. Kids in schools can use them as well; at the social worker or deans if they are going through something too traumatic to talk about, then the presence of a service dog can provide a child comfort.

While service animals can be used for many different things. the next step for Jet is professional training and eventually pairing him with someone with a disability. Falcones says, “They give many different tasks to see what he excels in, after that they match the person to the dog.”

Giving up a service animal can be really difficult. Mr. Falcones gave Jet back to the Northeast Regional Training Center on November 4th, 2022. It was a really tough and upsetting day for him. On the day when he gave Jet back, the training center held a graduation ceremony for the service dogs. During this ceremony, there was a breakfast and Mr. Falcones got to meet Jet’s new trainer. Jet is going from a yellow vest to a blue vest, indicating that he is in professional training. The organization invites people who have received service dogs and everyone present gets to hear their stories. There might be kids who are in wheelchairs or people who have to use canes or walkers and have broken spines, and they all give testimonial stories about how a service dog has changed their life. As the ceremony concluded, the dogs went down the hallway, and Falcones said goodbye to Jet. After a year and a half, Jet did not look back as he move forward into a life of service.