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In its first year of existence, The Westminster Kennel Club's therapy dog program, Angel On A Leash, was a wonderful success in benefiting the young patients at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian.

By integrating therapy dogs into patient care, Angel On A Leash enhanced the healing process for the Hospital's pediatric patients. With organizations such as the Good Dog Foundation, Delta Society and Vancouver Therapy Dogs providing the training for special dogs and their human partners, the program touched the lives of patients, their families, and staff at New York's leading children's hospital.

The dogs and people of the program, patients and families, and hospital staff, were introduced live at Westminster's annual show at Madison Square Garden in February. They received a rousing, standing ovation from the capacity crowd, as well as exposure on the national telecast on USA Network. Those very special dogs included "Josh," (Ch. Darbydale's All Rise Pouch Cove"), the redoubtable Newfoundland that captured Westminster's coveted Best In Show award last February. Josh, retired from the show ring after his win, is now a certified therapy dog for owners Dave and Peggy Helming and Carol Bergmann.

Being in a hospital can be a frightening time for children - away from the comforts of home and family, facing medical procedures and treatments. The use of therapy dogs has been shown to help reduce stress for pediatric patients and their families. Scientific studies are showing the many benefits, ranging from encouraging smiles and conversation, to motivating them during physical therapy.

"Therapy dogs connect patients, especially those who are suffering from chronic illness, to the outside world. The program brings unconditional love from an animal to the bedside, which greatly contributes to the emotional and physical healing process," says Joan Bompane, Director of Child Life at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital.

Angel On A Leash is supported through the sales of the Westminster poster, "Westminster. There's Only One." The poster, for the second straight year, was sold out. Noted sports artist Bart Forbes painted the 2006 poster. To order a poster or to learn more about The Westminster Kennel Club, log on to For information about Angel On A Leash, call (212) 213-3212 or e-mail

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