WJBF EXTRA: Serena's Story - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

WJBF EXTRA: Serena's Story

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By Randy Key

Serena, a dog that was destined to die, is very much alive!! Not only did she beat death, she is living proof that a dog can make a world of difference.

"She is a special dog, with special owners, too," says Elaine van der Linden, who founded Molly’s Militia.

Serena and her handler, Steve Briggs, help autistic kids and their teachers. But, Serena's early life was nothing to smile about. Like millions of unwanted animals, Serena was on death row. She was saved at the last minute by a local animal rescue group called Molly's Militia.

"We've rescued thousands...there are so many Serenas in a shelter, right now, that won't make it out unless someone goes to rescues them," Elaine says.

In Serena's case, someone did and that led to a permanent home for this kind and loving canine. Steve and Doris Briggs adopted Serena 6 years ago, and they live on a beautiful 18-acre ranch in Beech Island, South Carolina.

Mary Morrison, reporting: "Right away, her new owners noticed Serena's calm temperament, even around horses. They decided this dog's sweet disposition would be a terrible thing to waste. So, Steve and Serena took classes, and today as a therapy dog, Serena is touching countless lives. The pair  travels to hospitals, nursing homes, and schools...but it's these special kids she seems to love the most."

"Serena understands them. She understands their difficulties they have to overcome...it's ok," says Uyen Griffis, a teacher at Hammon Hill elementary School, in North Augusta. "She is super calm...the kids adore here. Somehow, I can get them to sing...dance...follow teacher directives more when she's here," Griffis adds.

Like any "teacher", Serena is tired by days end.

"She'll go home today and lie down for a couple hours, she's exhausted. She knows what's expected of her but it's a terrifically rewarding thing," Steve says.

Serena's work does not go unnoticed. In fact, this pound puppy is now the star of a documentary called "Paw Prints: Serena's Story". From shelter dog to movie star...this hard working canine shows no signs of calling it quits.

"As long as we can do it, we will," says Steve.

You can help other dogs find loving homes. Donate at least $10 to Molly's Militia, or Friends of the Animal Shelter (FOTAS), which supports the Aiken County Animal Shelter, or to the Aiken SPCA and Steve Briggs will give you a free DVD of "Paw Prints, Serena's Story".

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