National Dog Show therapy dogs visit youngsters in recovery

Charles Mostoller

Wes, who turns 2 on Monday, is staying at the Ronald McDonald House in West Philadelphia while he gets radiation treatment.
But on Thursday, he got to play with dogs from the 2014 National Dog Show Therapy Dog Ambassador Team.
“These guys have big paws to fill,” said David Frei, a National Dog Show analyst, who introduced the team to kids at the Ronald McDonald House (RMH).
“When you see these dogs, your blood pressure, everything comes down — it’s amazing,” said Steven Kramer, a therapy dog evaluator and part of the team who brought along two Doges de Bordeaux (French mastiffs), Stella and L’il Abner, to play with a group of youngsters.
“Parents with kids going through treatment, they’re stressed all day. We come at night, and the parents just melt. It’s amazing to watch,” Kramer said.
Domenic, 4, from New Jersey, who has been at the House for five weeks, said his favorite dog was the black Belgian Sheepdog, Waylon — because he looked like a “wolf.”
Ryan, 7, has been at the house for three weeks and said his favorite was a Staffordshire Terrier, Vivian, who formerly worked as a new “Leash on Life” dog in the Philadelphia Prisons System.
“The therapy dogs program — it’s a piece of home,” said RMH executive director Susan Campbell. “When they come in, you always hear parents saying, ‘That’s the first time she’s smiled this week.'”
The pups visited in advance of the National Dog Show, hosted by the Kennel Club of Philadelpha, which will take place Nov. 15-16 at the Greater Philadelphia EXPO Center in Oaks, Pa.
This year, two new breeds, who both visited RMH Thursday, have been recognized by the American Kennel Club for participation: the Coton de Tulear and the Wirehaired Vizsla.

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