With ‘pet partner,’ gladdens the infirm.
Four years ago, when Caroline Loevner brought Beau, her newly acquired Siberian Husky, to the vet, she was told that the dog had an unusually friendly temperament for his breed.
The vet asked Loevner if she knew about therapy pets. She didn’t, but she quickly learned.
The vet’s question gave Loevner, a Pittsburgh native who lives in Manhattan and works as a brand manager at Macy’s, a new direction. Every week, Beau, now 5, and Loevner bring a human-and-canine touch to people at several local institutions, including a Ronald McDonald House, a day-care facility for people with HIV, and an inpatient drug rehab center.
The people in the venues, who sometimes have no other visitors, hug and pet Beau, who often jumps in bed alongside them.
“It changes the energy in the room,” Loevner said. Beau is the star. “I don’t think the residents know my name.”
Loevner is a lifelong animal lover; while girls her age were playing with dolls, she said, she played with frogs and worms. “I guess I’m not the typical New York Jewish girl.”
When she goes to fundraising balls, Beau goes too.
Loevner found Beau, who was on an euthanasia list, at a Philadelphia shelter after her previous Husky, Nikki, died at 16 of a degenerative disk condition.
Beau, now a registered therapy dog, and Loevner took part in a seven-week training course.
You look marvelous: One member of the Loevner household is a model. It’s not Caroline. Beau, her Siberian husky, has appeared in a series of ads … Caroline and Beau are the subject of a short online documentary about their therapy work. It’s available at http://vimeo.com/42172360.