Chenango Stories: Man's best friend is a child's too

Norman Boeschen says the residents of Oxford may not know him very well, but everyone seems to recognize his purebred Leonberger dog named Cyder.

Boeschen and Cyder, who weighs in at 150, travel the roads of Oxford volunteering their time and bringing high spirits to New York State Veterans’ Home residents and staff. They also help children learn to read with the BC Paws to Read program, offered to third and fourth graders. The program is designed to bring dogs into classrooms and lets children read aloud to them without feeling criticism or pressure from reading to other students. The program has helped numerous children build self-esteem and confidence in their reading.

Moving to the Oxford area four and a half years ago, Boeschen says he thought taking Cyder to dog obedience school and dog therapy classes was a great idea and getting the dog trained to do a good deed seemed to be a good way to give back to the community.

Originally from Long Island, Boeschen says he always was an avid outdoorsman and traveled upstate to his camp in Laurens a few times a year, often with other friends from downstate. After retiring from Nynex, now Verizon, he says he left the workforce young, but knew it was the right choice for him. Boeschen had been diagnosed with cancer and says spending time working wasn’t worth it – he wanted to relax and enjoy his time, saying you never know when your last day will be.

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