9 June

The Prom Queen Gets On TV Today. The Prom Is Friday

by Jon Katz

We’re getting excited here. Zinnia has been chosen Prom Queen at Bishop Maginn High School’s Farewell Feast on Friday night. From 6 to 9 p.m.

Zinnia was on Albany TV tonight, I didn’t see it, but her picture was on the evening news.

I plan to dance with the kids (I have three requests) if they don’t mind my boot on my left foot. It won’t be pretty.

Zinnia will have a blast, and I’m sure she’ll get her mouth on some of that foot.

The student’s parents are preparing the food, and there are already 20 different kinds of meals coming from all over the world – Mexican, Asian, African, Japanese, Chinese.

TV crews are coming to film her on Friday night. I gather she’s getting a pink bow tie and scarf (from Maria.) Zinnia has been written about several times in the Albany media. She’s a thing.

I started training Zinnia as a therapy dog at Bishop Maginn three years ago. The idea was for her to train with the children she’d be providing therapy support for. They were all chosen by the school, and we trained her together as a therapy dog.

As she grew up, she slipped into the therapy role naturally. It was a great way to train her and helped several students overcome their fear of dogs. At the end of the year, nobody in the group was afraid of dogs.

Zinna bonded beautifully with a dozen or more of the students there, and when we show up at the school, it’s like going home for her in a way; she and the students rush towards each other and fall to the ground, hugging and kissing and licking and wagging.

The pandemic interrupted our training, but we will be going to Bishop Maginn all summer.

Because of the rise in crime in Albany, Sue Silverstein opens up her art class (and the student gym) for students who need a place to go and get off the streets.

I’ll bring Zinnia to the gym and Sue’s art classes all summer and write about it on the blog.  We’ll also be back in September for our regular therapy work as the school fully reopens.

I’m proud of Zinnia. She’s a fabulous therapy dog, and I’m proud that the kids want to honor her. They very much wanted her to come. Friday is going to be a blast; Sue Silverstein says the kids are incredibly excited about it.

The Bishop Maginn experience has been one of the most meaningful of my life, and thanks to all of you, we did a ton of good. More to come.

They lost almost all of their festivities last year because of the pandemic and the experience of finishing high school. This year was better, but not normal.

Friday is critical to them as they say goodbye to a school that has been a lifesaver for so many of them. All are going to college. I’m grateful to be there.


  1. Zinnia is such a beautiful dog. Jon, your work you do with your dogs that have such beautiful humanitarian effects is awesome.
    You’re an awesome & wonderful
    human being.

  2. if possible could you include the news links after Friday.
    Dear Zinnia, you were born with wings so that you could share your heart
    and bring joy and comfort and hope too so many. You will be carried as a memory and a much needed message of all that you give so willingly in others hearts for many, many years to come.
    You are also a teacher who taught at least one student how not to be afraid by showing her with gentleness that you could be trusted.
    If ” eyes are a window into ones soul” then surely yours contain a glimpse of what one might hope their version of Heaven is.

    1. I probably can’t do that Alexa, I’ll be tied up and won’t know in advance…I’ll try to describe it..

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