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Angel on a Leash: Therapy Dogs and the Lives They Touch

Angel on a Leash: Therapy Dogs and the Lives They Touch

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by David Frei

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David Frei, the publicist of Westminster Kennel Club and the founder of Westminster’s therapy dog charity, Angel on a Leash, along with his wife Cheri, a minister at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian, retell heartwarming stories of therapy dogs who change the lives of needy children at hospitals and rehabilitation centers.


David Frei, the publicist of Westminster Kennel Club and the founder of Westminster’s therapy dog charity, Angel on a Leash, along with his wife Cheri, a minister at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian, retell heartwarming stories of therapy dogs who change the lives of needy children at hospitals and rehabilitation centers. angelonaleash.org

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Angel on a Leash will make you smile and cry and appreciate the great things that our dogs do for us and for people in need. My longtime friend David Frei has written a heartwarming book about his work with therapy dogs and the human-animal bond. So ready, put the book down, hug your dog, and repeat, again and yet again. I love it and so will you! You will want to reread this one." - Betty White

"Therapy dog work helps you and your dog teach one another and learn from one another. David Frei's Angel on a Leash is a terrific lesson in how that happens. David and his dogs love and trust each other, and this has enabled him to make it his life's work to share hope with people in need. It has also given him many wonderful stories to share with us in the heartwarming book. I couldn't put it down." - Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer

"When a dog wags his tail, is is connected to his heart. When David tells these stories of the dogs he has known and the good that they've done, they are connected to his." - John O'Hurley, from the foreword

Product Details

Lumina Media
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Barnes & Noble
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4 MB

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Meet the Author

David Frei is well known to millions of television viewers as the longtime co-host (21 years) of the popular Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

In connection with that role, he has made many appearances on "The Today Show," "Good Morning America," "The Early Show," "Ellen," "The View," "Martha Stewart," "Charlie Rose" and more. He has been director of communications for the Westminster Kennel Club since 2003. David also has been co-host on NBC of "The National Dog Show" on Thanksgiving Day since its inception, a telecast seen by about 20 million viewers every year.

A longtime breeder-owner-handler and judge in the world of purebred dogs, he has enjoyed much competitive success with his Afghan Hounds and Brittanys. Ch. Stormhill's Who's Zoomin Who was the #1 Afghan in 1989 and retired as the top-winning female in the history of the breed. David has also exhibited his Brittanys in conformation and field trials. A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy named Angel recently joined the family and is a newly certified therapy dog.

With Westminster, David helped to create Angel On A Leash, a charitable activity supporting therapy dog programs at health care facilities around the country. David is an active volunteer as well, visiting each week with his two Brittanys and his Cavalier at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the Ronald McDonald House of New York.

He is a member of the Sports Council of the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and does volunteer work with Transfiguration Church and School in New York's Chinatown.

In 2009, the Dog Writers Association of America awarded him the American Kennel Club Distinguished Service Award, and in 2010, the World Dog Press selected him for their Media Award.

David is the co-author, with Mike Lingenfelter, of The "Angel By My Side", a critically-acclaimed best seller about a heroic service dog, published in 2002 (www.angelbymyside.com). And in 2004, he appeared in one of the final episodes of the HBO hit series, Sex And The City, playing a dog show judge.

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Angel on a Leash 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
The Angel on a Leash program began modestly in 2005 spreading to the Ronald McDonald House, major cancer hospitals and health care facilities because of generous funding. The program trains therapy dogs. This inspiring book describes how the dog-human bond is used to bring joy and healing to people in emotional and physical pain. Dogs have spontaneity and show unconditional love, making them perfect for therapy. Love and trust between people and dogs are life lessons taught over and over within these pages. Interacting with a dog, by petting or just looking into its eyes, increases your endorphins, which makes you feel better. Studies such as one in the American Journal of Cardiology state that owners make less frequent doctor visits and take fewer medications than non-owners. What makes a good therapy dog? Inborn temperament—accepting, positive and tolerant—along with obedience training and the ability to withstand difficult situations. Assessing a dog’s people preference (quiet senior citizens versus active children) coupled with giving it the freedom to be itself result in the perfect therapy team. The book makes a clear distinction between a service dog, which has access to anywhere its person goes, and a therapy dog. A service dog is trained by a coach and then devotes itself to one human partner. Therapy dogs, generally accompanied by a handler, work in health care facilities with many people to promote well-being. They undergo orientation and background checks before entering a facility. Strict protocols to protect patient and dog alike are followed. David Frei is described as the most knowledgeable mind in the canine field. Gushing from the pages of this book are both his love for dogs and belief in their healing powers. The book’s Forward says, “When a dog wags his tail, it is connected to his heart.” The author invites you to hug your dog before you read the book. Then he thanks his canine friends for letting him be the person holding the other end of the leash. This inspiring book describes many instances of healing stemming from the unconditional love of canines. The author’s enthusiasm and sincerity leap off the pages. The book sports photos of “Angel on a Leash” dogs with schoolchildren, cancer patients and babies. One of the most poignant elements is a love letter to the dogs from a nine-year old boy. The stars of the book, Teigh, Belle and their successors, Grace and Angel, will make you chuckle and weep. Two quadriplegic brothers smile broadly while their parents cry for joy during a visit with Teigh. Brushing a dog as a means of doing painful range-of-motion exercise eases a girl’s suffering. Petting a furry friend helps a soldier with PTSD open up to the people around him. The author’s many personal recollections detract from his message about healing dogs, but give credibility to his experience. His writing is most effective when he plunges into the touching stories of therapy dogs and the humans they help. Quill says: Laugh, cry and learn as you read this heart-warming book about angels with four legs miraculously improving people’s lives.
PattyinKC More than 1 year ago
David has so much insight into the world of Animal Assited Therapy and brings this out in his book. He has so much knowledge of what it takes to be a great volunteer team and knows the rewarding experiences we have as pet partner teams. He gives wonderful tribute to the Delta Society; which I believe is the golden organization for this type of work. It was so fun to read about his visits with his special canine partners. Thank you, David.
Addicted_2_Books More than 1 year ago
This book is a "must read" for anyone who has wondered about the relationship between humans and their pets, particularly dogs. It's not as easy as so many of the professionals in our iives would lead us to believe. I have watched the progression of acceptance of "therapy dogs"in hospitals across the country with gratification. On a personal level, I have seen the incredible work accomplished by a wonderful dog from Angel on a Leash. William cared for a cancer patient, guiding her through her tragic decline. He cared for her. He even brought her back from death at one point. Now William, without his dear friend, trains other dogs to do what he did. That's my definition of a hero. Love is an incredibly powerful gift wherever we find it. Thank you David. 
BlackDiamond12 More than 1 year ago
Therapy dogs have an important role and this book celebrates their contributions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago