For the third year in a row, past Westminster winners will join with celebrants at the Angel On a Leash benefit to honor this year’s recipients of the organization’s Halo Awards. Four living legends, Pekingese ‘Malachy,’ Ch. Palacegarden Malachy, Scottish Deerhound ‘Hickory,’ GCh. Foxcliffe Hickory Wind, Scottish Terrier ‘Sadie,’Ch. Roundtown Mercedes of Maryscot, and Beagle ‘Uno,’ Ch. K-Run’s Park Me in First, are scheduled to appear on Saturday, February 9, 2013 at the Affinia Hotel Manhattan from 5 to 7 p.m.

Westminster winners traditionally visit New York’s Ronald McDonald House as part of their post show media blitz. Here 2007 BIS winner English Springer Spaniel ‘James,’ Ch. Felicity’s Diamond Jim, shares a tender moment with a tiny dog lover. Photos courtesy of Angel On a Leash.

The benefit, one of the most anticipated events held during Westminster week, is hosted by Ruth Pereira and gives those in attendance a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the dog sport’s bonafide canine celebrities. Saturday night’s event will bring together the Best in Show winners from 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Angel On a Leash was founded in 2004 as a charitable activity of the Westminster Kennel Club, but is today a wholly separate entity. The charity was created to provide animal-assisted therapy to help improve the overall experience of healthcare patients at facilities in New York and around the nation. David Frei, the organization’s chairman and author of “Angel On a Leash, Therapy Dogs and the Lives They Touch,” wrote of his dogs’ participation in the program: “My dogs are changing people’s lives and taking me along, changing my life too.”

Frei is no stranger to dog lovers within the show world, but he is equally well-known as television co-host of the world’s most famous dog show for more than two decades. Since 1990, the congenial representative of the dog sport has introduced millions of viewers to the many breeds that have enriched the lives of generations of American families. Through Angel On a Leash, he’s demonstrated that even the most famous purebred dogs can be a source of comfort to those individuals and their families who are most in need.

Brittany Teigh, one of Angel On a Leash Chairman David Frei’s original therapy dogs, is the center of attention among young guests at the Ronald McDonald House.

Saturday’s event is scheduled in the late afternoon to allow those who’ve spent the day at the specialty shows, or the theater and shopping districts, to stop by for cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and a visit with Angel supporters and beneficiaries. “We set it up that way so people can drop in before heading out to other parties that night,” Frei says.

Hostess Pereira and the Westminster winners will join with supporters to acknowledge a few of the special people who’ve generously committed their time to the organization’s cause in 2012. “The fundraiser is also an event to recognize some of our special volunteers and their dogs,” according to Frei. The volunteers are part of visiting teams, each registered and certified, that encourage wellness through customized programs aimed at improving the emotional, social and physical health of everyone involved – including the dogs.

: Small dogs provide an armful of comfort through the work of Angel On a Leash volunteers in association with partner facilities around the U.S. A Shetland Sheepdog, left, and David Frei’s Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Angel, have a knack for putting smiles on people’s faces.

Frei is sure to be one of the busier dog fanciers this week and next. In addition to the Angel party on Saturday and the two-night live television broadcast on Monday and Tuesday, he’ll be escorting this year’s winning dog and handler on a media tour beginning at 6 a.m. on Wednesday morning after the show. The day’s schedule will include on-air visits with “Fox and Friends,” the “Today” show and “The View,” taping with Anderson Cooper at CNN, and lunch with the paparazzi at Sardi’s Time permitting, the entourage may also spend time with Donald Trump, as well as guests at the Ronald McDonald House. On Thursday, the winning team will ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, and Frei is quick to point out the positive effect of the previous winners’ visits. “For the past three years, the market closed up on the day,” he says.

Saturday night’s party at the Affinia is one of the charity’s biggest fundraising events of the year. Everyone is welcome to join Ruth, David and the Westminster winners to celebrate the volunteers, patients and dogs who’ve made Angel On a Leash a positive force in the lives of many.

For information on this year’s benefit and to purchase tickets, see the attached invitation or contact Angel On a Leash by telephone at 646-259-3811 or by email at