‘Flat Preston’ embarks on travels, creating fun for Chapel Haven residents during pandemic

Connecticut Families

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– When we first met Preston, he was charming residents of Chapel Haven Schleifer Center while helping these adults with disabilities master tasks.

But, then, the pandemic struck and many of Preston’s pals went home.

So, the service dog’s role has expanded….or shrunk…as he branches out, in a new, streamlined way.

“I’m familiar with the Flat Stanley project and I was trying to find a way to make it our own,” says the dog’s handler, Danielle Drazen, referring to a paper cut-out of the pup.

Folks can decorate Flat Preston, take him to unique places then snap a picture to share.

Drazen thinks it’s a fun way to stay connected during this uncertain time.

“One of the best things about Chapel Haven is that we’re a community,” she explains. “We just wanted to keep that spirit growing and flowing while everyone was in various places.”

See Flat Preston take walks, participate in graduation parades and encourage safe practices, as he’s surrounded by wipes and hand sanitizer.

He’s even “em-barking” on adventures!

“He’s been to Cape Canaveral, one of the space centers there,” says Drazen.

The real Preston is also providing comfort to residents like Jessica Lerman who stayed on campus and hasn’t seen her parents and siblings in months.

“He’s pretty much a big mush to say the least,” she says. “He will just run up to you and give all the love he can possibly give, which is nice if you’re missing family.”

Sixty artists have decorated Flat Prestons, delighting his fan base who miss their cuddly friend, so very much.

“It’s just a fun way to have him with them in spirit and visit all these places that students are dying to see right now,” says Drazen.

Anyone can join in on the fun! The Flat Preston project will continue throughout the summer.

Click here for more information.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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