Highlighting the special bond between women and their dogs

Last week I wrote about therapy dogs and my brother Romeo, and the health benefits of therapy dogs. Keeping with a similar theme, there are a lot of dogs doing some good in the world and I wanted to highlight the inspirational stories, so you can truly see the positive impact animals have on their owners and vice versa. And I’m not writing this to just praise us dogs; I love Rose and the Caiola family dearly, and I feel so lucky to be part of their family.

While I was reading the other morning, I came across a fascinating article in the Huffington Post, “5 Badass Women and Their Canine Companions That Were There Through It All.” Here’s are their stories:

1. Law Enforcement Pups

Dogs are known for helping police officers do their jobs, whether it’s search and rescue missions, patrolling airports and train stations for illegal materials or simply being home to offer the officers unconditional love and support after a long day at work.

Police Sargent Jessica McRorie and Detective Tara Cuccias of the New York Police Department (NYPD) are thankful for their dogs’ unconditional love at the end of a stressful workday.

(Left) Sgt Jessica McRorie with Chihuahuas, Sophie, David and Little Edie. (Right) Det Tara Cuccias’ dogs Zoey Shar-Pei Shepherd mix and Zeke Puggle.

2. Dogi Specialists

Yoga teacher and dog lover Kari Harendorf has six rescue dogs, and brings one of them to her yoga classes.

“For people that have dogs…we can be so busy and caught up in our lives that we’re not paying attention to our dogs, even when we’re walking them,” Harendorf says, “to actually get down on the floor, you get to connect with them.”

In case you missed it, check out my post on doga to learn more.

3. Hospital Volunteers

Nurse Leah Borenstein brings her Shi-Poo dog, Sooner, to Mount Sinai St Luke’s and Mount Sinai West hospitals to lift the spirits of the patients and hospital staff.

Sooner completed therapy dog certification and brings lots of smiles and happiness to the people at Mount Sinai hospitals. Whether you’re feeling sick or looking to de-stress, Sooner can help.

4. Helping the Handicapped

Daniela Schirmer broke her neck in an accident in 2009, and was unable to move from the neck-down and on bed rest for a year. As a result of intensive physical therapy, she was able to use her arms and hands, but her real emotional recovery began after she was paired with Zandra, her Labrador service dog.

Zandra was a major part of helping Schirmer regain her confidence. By helping her open doors, retrieve dropped items and accompany her to work events –where Schirmer represents a sales company – people began to ask about Zandra and focus less on Schirmer’s disability.

“When you become severely disabled you have so many things that are taken away from you,” Schirmer said, “but there is an emotional aspect of having a dog where you feel you get to take your dog everywhere, and she gives me that emotional comfort.”

5. Work Stress Relievers

Woodworker Natalie Shook created Supersmith, a workshop for local artisans that features a woodshop, metal shop, painting room and a storefront where artisans can showcase their crafts for sale.

Although managing the Supersmith takes up most of her time, she thoroughly enjoys relaxing with her dog Bones after a long wok day and sometimes even during the workday.

She refers to Bones as her first “baby,” which pretty much sums up the deep bond they share.

How has your dog made a difference in your life? Are there any inspirational stories you’d like to share?


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