This unique organization—which aptly calls itself “America’s Therapy Dogs”—began as a charitable activity of the Westminster Kennel Club in 2004 and became an independent 501(c)3 charity in 2007. The leader in therapy dog programs in the US, Angel on a Leash strives “to create the best therapy dog programs in health care facilities and other settings across the country.”
The work of Angel on a Leash originated at the NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital in the city and later was expanded to the Ronald McDonald House New York, once the facility opened its doors to therapy dogs. Soon after, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center joined the Angel choir and allowed therapy-dog teams into its amazing facility in New York.
Today, as a national organization, Angel on a Leash has teams are working beyond the isle of Manhattan in children’s and veterans’ hospitals, care centers and retirement homes, including the Fisher House at the Michael DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, Ronald McDonald Houses in Memphis (at St. Jude) and Milwaukee (at CHW). Therapy dog programs are also being planned for Shriners Hospitals for Children, with more than 20 North American locations coast to coast, from Boston and Tampa to Los Angeles and Honolulu with outreach to children in American Samoa, Chuuk, Fiji, Guam, Kosrae, Pohnpei, and Saipan….plus Canada and Mexico.
Angel on a Leash doesn’t ever forget its Westminster beginnings, and this year’s annual benefit, taking place the Saturday night prior to the dog show, is called the Angel Best in Show Party, hosted by founder and Chair, David Frei, at the Affinia Hotel. Frei will welcome back four of his favorite therapy dogs—all Westminster Best in Show winners. Last year’s victor, the Pekingese, Malachy; the Scottish Deerhound, Hickory (2011); the Scottish Terrier, Sadie (2010) and the Beagle, Uno (2008) will all partake in the festivities. The party is open to the public and the donation is $100 per person. Click here, for information about the event.
The following night, at the Dog Writers Association of America’s annual banquet and competition, David Frei’s new book “Angel on a Leash” (BowTie Press, 2011) is nominated for best book in the category Human/Animal Bond. The book is a collection of heart-warming stories about the author’s experiences with therapy dogs and how his doggy ministry changed his life and the lives of the many children, elderly patients and veterans he’s met along the way. The print book and the eBook are for sale on Amazon. Learn more about the book in our exclusive interview with author David Frei>>
For more information about Angel on a Leash, its partnerships and outreach programs, or becoming a therapy dog team with your own dog, click here.