Miss A Columnist

Jessica Tiare Bowen is a rockstar elementary school teacher and author of the children's book, "Park Avenue Pound Puppy". She lives in New York City with her pink-nosed chihuahua Gillman.

Angel On A Leash at New York Pet Show

As a chihuahua mom and dog enthusiast in general, I was thrilled to learn about an organization that celebrates the power of animal love, Angel On A Leash. Angel On A Leash is a charitable organization that links therapy dog programs to health care facilities, recognizing that a properly trained therapy dog can help people heal physically, emotionally and socially.

I had the great privilege to speak with one of their volunteer teams, Caroline Loevner and her dog, Beau. Caroline adopted the blue-eyed beauty from the MaPaw Siberian Husky Rescue, and the pair fell in love at first sight.

When Caroline took Beau to get checked, the vet noticed immediately that there was something very special about Beau, and recommended that Caroline look into animal therapy work.

Caroline Loevner and Beau.

Caroline took Beau to the Delta Society, where he trained to become a therapy dog. From there, they joined Angel On A Leash and became involved in several of their organizations throughout New York City. Every Friday night you can find them greeting children at the Ronald McDonald House who are on their way home from treatment at a nearby hospital. Sundays they’re at the Rivington House, a 24-hour-care facility for people living with HIV, and every other Saturday they can be found at Beth Israel, playing games or taking walks with the long term residents. Many patients at these facilities don’t have frequent visitors, so the regular visits from Caroline and Beau really make a difference.

Beau Cuddles With A Patient

Last year alone, Beau logged over 300 hours of volunteer work. With almost 6 hours of service a week, this duo has been busy! Caroline makes it a point to celebrate holidays and patients’ birthdays. For Valentine’s Day this year, Beau dipped his paw into non-toxic cement, Hollywood style, and made a keepsake paw-print for every resident, which read: “Happy Valentine’s Day! XOXO, Beau”.

One stroke victim at the Rivington House, who was previously unable to speak, is now able to say Beau’s name upon seeing him. Talk about being “touched by an angel!”

On her office door, Caroline has photos of Beau with the children at Ronald McDonald House. Every time she looks at the pictures she thinks, “These little kids are warriors. This is what’s important in life.” As so many patients at these facilities have realized, sometimes the best medicine one can get is a little love in the form of a puppy cuddle.

If you are interested in learning more about pet therapy, please visit Angel On A Leash. You can also visit their booth at the New York Pet Show, which will be held on May 21st and 22nd. This event is cat and dog friendly!

WHEN: May 21st and 22nd, 2011 from 11:00a.m. to 5:00p.m.

WHERE: Metropolitan Pavilion and Altman Building
125 West 18th Street
New York, New York

TICKETS: $20 in advance, $25 at the door
(Children ages 12 and under are free)

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