Canine assistant to Arnie and Arlene Richards

Winnie:  I bear a name that is hard to live up to. I am Winston Churchill Poodle.I am eleven years old. My foster parents- they are not my biological kin, but they named me and I have lived with them since I was three months old. And they do foster me. I work with them every day they work. My duties are: warning them to come greet their patients when the patients come into the waiting room; greeting the patients with a lick or a rub on their legs with the side of my head; getting one of them when they are in their apartment instead of their offices when a patient comes; licking the tears of the patients when the parents make them cry; leading the patients to the door at the end of the session; and barking loudly if the parents fail to notice delivery men in the hall.

But the job of which I am proudest is the work of calming people who are afraid of dogs. I have cured at least one person of a dog phobia by keeping as far away as possible at first and only gradually approaching her as she seemed more comfortable with me near her. I love her for her courage. I am so proud to have helped her to muster it and to understand that I do love her.

I also walk my foster mother in Central Park every day, but that counts as fun, not work. And I answer to Winnie the Pooh when they are feeling whimsical or Velvet der Schvartze when my mother uses her native language.

Here’s what my foster people have to say….