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 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.
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.
By: Jessica Tiare Bowen