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How a 19-year-old is using puppies to create community

TROY MELNYK
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He may be non-verbal, but this teen loves to socialize.

Nineteen-year-old Troy Melnyk is receiving a lot of praise and gratitude recently for bringing together a community around a shared love of dogs.

Melnyk, who is non-verbal as the result of Angelman’s syndrome, shares a tight bond with his own small dog, Izzy. But when he and Izzy couldn’t find suitable areas for them to play, Melnyk realized that many of their neighbors were facing the same problem.

And so the Pop Up Puppy Party (PUPP) was born. Once a month, Melnyk hosts a puppy party with food and drinks for the humans and treats for the pups, and the reception has been great!

“That’s really all I want, for people to recognize him as part of our community and a worthwhile part of our community — and it’s happening,” Troy’s mother said.

The Pop Up Puppy Party has become such a hit that residents are looking into giving the event a more permanent place in the local community, but the good that’s already been accomplished has already made Melnyk’s efforts worthwhile.

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