If you're a dog parent then you know already that a dog can be the most amazing, lovable, precious friend a person can have. They are animals that can love you back and care for you as much as you care for them.
Angel On A Leash is a New York based organization that has taken this one step further and leverages the outstanding caring and healing capacity of dogs. Through their research and work, they have proven that "therapy dogs help people physically, emotionally and socially. It's known as the therapeutic touch."
David Frei, known to millions of fans and viewers as the longtime co-host of the annual telecast of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and National Dog Show, is the founder of Angel On a Leash. When asked what inspired him to found Angel On A Leash, Mr. Frei told us that he was inspired to create the organization when his dog Belle passed away in the summer of 2009 and he wrote an obit for her talking about all the things she had done and shared it with his friends. He further explained that "When Teigh passed in January of 2010, I wrote something for him too and thought, well, the time has come to put this together into a book. I had accumulated (at least in my mind) a number of stories through the years that I thought could help make the book appealing in a way that would share what therapy dogs do for people every day. The book was later nominated for DWAA Award for best depiction of the human animal bond."
What Frie had in mind was simple; he wanted to create the best therapy dog programs in healthcare facilities and other settings. He had visited the Ronald McDonald House where the patients were exclusively pediatric oncology patients, and "To see them and their families battle that terrible disease every day and try to maintain some normalcy in their lives was both heartbreaking and heartwarming," Frie said. He was inspired by these children and further by the women at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center where he visited each week.
That's when he knew that through dog therapy, he could help those that need it most. Angel On A Leash sets itself apart from other animal therapy programs through their customized approach to therapy. They recognize that each facility has its own unique needs and culture and therefore use only the most highly trained teams of insured volunteer handlers and their dogs. The therapy dogs must also be certified and registered.
What began as a charitable activity of the Westminster Kennel Club in 2004, operating solely at the New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, has now grown into a therapy dog program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, the Fisher House at the Michael DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, and Ronald McDonald Houses in Memphis and Milwaukee.
For the past seven years, Mr. Frei's wife Cheryl has been the Chaplain and Director of Family Support at the Ronald McDonald House of New York. The pair work closely together and share not just their lives but a common goal, to promote the role of the human-canine bond in enhancing human health and quality of life. Mr. Frei affectionately refers to his wife as Cheri and believes that if she were a dog she would be a Golden Retriever because she's intelligent, affectionate, athletic, and a beautiful person who lives her life for people.
This Saturday, Angels On A Leash is hosting a show benefit starring their best therapy dogs. Join these great champions for pictures and pets and cocktails!! February, 9, 5-7 p.m., Affinia Hotel, 630 9th Avenue, Suite 1009, New York. Get tickets at https://www.angelonaleash.org/ticketorderform.cfm or call 877‐364‐2643.
To learn more about Angel On A Leash or to support them in their belief that "Not all medicine comes in a bottle", visit their website at http://www.angelonaleash.org.
To learn more about the Ronald McDonald House New York, visit their website at www.rmh-newyork.org. Twitter: www.twitter.com/rmhnewyork Facebook: www.facebook.com/rmhnewyork
Ronald McDonald House of New York
405 East 73rd Street
New York, NY 10021
Main: (212) 639-0100 | Fax: (212) 639-0171
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