Therapy Dog Ambassador Team Back in Action with 21 Dogs and 22 Humans as COVID-19 Moves to the Rearview Mirror

Philadelphia, PA— Of all the services sidelined in recent years by the global pandemic, none were more saddened to be on the sideline than The National Dog Show Therapy Dog Ambassador Team.  

Now with coronavirus fading into the background, this dynamic team of 21 canines and 22 owners/handlers is raring to go with an array of activities sure to make 2022 a memorable comeback year.  

Representing six states stretching from Oregon to Miami to Philadelphia, many of the team members spent the past two years doing virtual visits over zoom while waiting for COVID-19 to subside. 

“We’re almost literally holding them back,” said David Frei the author of two books on the therapy dog phenomenon and expert analyst for The National Dog Show on NBC, Thanksgiving Day. “The virtual visits have been fun and fulfilling but it’s in person with the ill children, aged and infirm that our registered therapy dogs really make a difference. We hope to be out in full force by the summer.” Frei is the owner of a therapy dog, Grace, who visits around the states of Oregon and Washington. 

Just last year, Valley Forge National Historical Park hosted the team for BARK Ranger training on May 2 to build on their skillset as registered therapy dogs and handlers who work to comfort the children, the aged and infirm in healthcare facilities. The therapy dogs completed the 30-minute training session and then were inducted into the legion of BARK Rangers in a ceremony that included the awarding of a logoed bandana. 

Additional appearances are planned for summer and fall and the therapy dog team will populate a booth at The National Dog Show in November 2022 at the greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, where spectators are expected to be allowed back into the facility this year. 

The National Dog Show Therapy Dog Ambassador Team’s most recent additions are thirteen new members from the prominent PAWS for People Organization of Delaware. They are: “Robbie” a Pembroke Welsh Corgi; “Gracie” a Boxer/Pitbull mix; “Sienna” a Goldendoodle; “Bella” a Golden Retriever; “Darien” a Golden Retriever; “Tory” a Golden Retriever; “Alfie” a Golden Retriever; “Mr. Gibbs” a Puggle; “Lucy” a mini-Labradoodle; “Piper” a Malti-poo; “Frangelica” a Terrier mix; “Guinness” a Puli; and “Charlotte” a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. 

All 21 dogs play a vital role in helping to make a difference in people’s lives. In addition to their weekly work at hospitals, nursing homes and institutions, the Therapy Dog Ambassadors make therapy visits and media appearances in conjunction with National Dog Show activities in Philadelphia and New York City. 

The full lineup of The National Dog Show Therapy Dog Ambassador Team is as follows (Listed Alphabetically by the first name of the dog): 

  • “Alfie” Birth year: 2016   

    Breed: Golden Retriever 

    Owner/Handler: Sue & Tom Good 

    From: Wilmington, DE 

  • “Axle” Birth year: 2021   

    Breed: Golden Retriever 

    Owner/Handler: Sue & Tom Good 

    From: Wilmington, DE 

  • “Bella” Birth year: 2012   

    Breed: Golden Retriever 

    Owner/Handler: Luann D’Agostino 

    From: Newark, DE 

  • “Charlotte” Birth year: 2016   

    Breed: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 

    Owner/Handler: Kelli Silliman 

    From: Kennett Square, PA 

  • “Darien” Birth year: 2015 

    Breed: Golden Retriever 

    Owner/Handler: Harry & Marilyn Martens 

    From: Rehoboth Beach, DE 

  • “Dyson” Birth Year: 2017 

     Breed: Shetland Sheepdog 

     Owner/Handler: Alice Hoersch 

     From: Hatfield, PA 

  • “Frangelica” Birth Year: 2011  

  Breed: Terrier Mix    

  Owner/Handler: Kathryn Meloni 

  From: Chadds Ford, PA 

  • “Grace” Birth Year: 2009 

     Breed: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 

     Owner/Handler: David Frei 

     From: Cannon Beach, Oregon 

  • “Guinness” Birth Year: 2014 

     Breed: Puli 

     Owner/Handler: Fran Levinson 

     From: Landenberg, PA 

  • “Lucy” Birth Year: 2013 

     Breed: Mini Labradoodle 

     Owner/Handler: Aileen Murray 

     From: Bear, DE 

  • “Maxwell” Birth Year: 2008   

  Breed: Belgian Sheepdog    

  Owner/Handler: Mary Grace Buckwalter 

  From: Ambler, PA 

  • “Mr. Gibbs” Birth Year: 2011   

  Breed: Puggle    

  Owner/Handler: Tawanda Harbinson 

  From: Newark, DE 

  • “Piper” Birth Year: 2011  

  Breed: Malti-poo    

  Owner/Handler: Sherri Kearns 

  From: Phoenixville, PA 

  • “Robbie (AKA Honeyfox Heartthrob)” Birth Year: 2012   

  Breed: Pembroke Welsh Corgi    

  Owner/Handler: Becky Cronin 

  From: Townsend, DE 

  • “Sage” Birth Year: 2013   

  Breed: Golden Retriever    

  Owner/Handler: Jenny Cochran 

  From: Harleysville, PA 

  • “Sienna” Birth Year: 2009 

  Breed: Goldendoodle 

  Owner/Handler: Rhonda James 

  From: Newark, DE 

  • “Soda Pop” Birth Year: 2013    

  Breed: Belgian Sheepdog     

  Owner/Handler: Emily & Mary Grace Buckwalter 

  From: Ambler, PA

  • “Teddy” Birth Year: 2017 

  Breed: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 

  Owner/Handler: Kelly Rounds  

  From: Miami, FL 

  • “Tory” Birth Year: 2016   

  Breed: Golden Retriever    

  Owner/Handler: Lynne Robinson 

  From: Elkton, MD 

  • “Vivian” Birth Year: 2010  

     Breed: Staffordshire Terrier              

     Owner/Handler: Michele Pich 

     From: Glassboro, NJ 

  • “Wesley” Birth Year: 2015   

  Breed: Cavalier King Charles Spaniel    

  Owner/Handler: Amy Celona 

  From: Lincoln University, PA 



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