Beau Loevner: Ronald McDonald House New York's Four-Legged Celebrity Volunteer

 

“When Beau came into the playroom on a Thursday night, it was like Elvis making an entrance.  The kids just swarmed him. And Beau always responded with his version of an autograph...a big, sloppy smooch that inevitably made the recipient respond with an ear-to-ear smile.”

John Rohs, the RMH-NY volunteer quoted above, has known Beau for many years. John spent many Thursday nights at the House and saw first-hand the rock ‘n’ roll superstar treatment that Beau would receive from every kid when he entered the playroom after dinner.

Beau had that ‘it’ factor that comes with being adorable, compassionate, and a great listener simultaneously.  Beau is also a gorgeous purebred Siberian Husky and a Volunteer favorite at Ronald McDonald House New York. This is Beau Loevner’s story.

Caroline Loevner, Beau’s Forever Human, Says Goodbye

Beau and Caroline

Caroline and Beau Loevner have been members of Ronald McDonald House New York’s Therapy Dog Team for a decade. They are incredible examples of the dedication that so many of the RMH-NY volunteers show year in and year out to the House and our families.

Only weeks ago, Beau became very ill and, knowing Beau as well as she did, Caroline knew it was the right time to release him to move on to his next mission. We are all heartbroken at Ronald McDonald House New York to have lost such an incredible advocate of the RMH-NY mission. Yet, the extraordinary gifts that Beau and Caroline gave the world can never be forgotten and the smiling duo will be forever remembered at RMH-NY for their unbelievable commitment to our families.

For the last ten years, Beau and Caroline have managed to put more smiles on the faces of more children (and adults) than just about anyone else on the planet. The beautiful duo started their tenure as volunteers at the House on a different night, but quickly became a regular part of our Thursday night volunteer line up. But did you know that Beau’s list of service accomplishments and the good deeds that he and Caroline have performed extend far beyond our House walls?

But first, let's start at the beginning of the story.

The Beginning of Beau and Caroline

Set to be euthanized in a city shelter after his first forever home surrendered him, a dog rescue called MaPaw found and saved Beau just under the wire.  Caroline and Beau met through MaPaw and they fell instantly in love.

At their first visit, Caroline’s veterinarian noticed that Beau’s temperament was very sweet and calm. The veterinarian suggested Caroline look into animal-assisted intervention. Caroline quickly found the Delta Society and after a six-week training session Caroline and Beau were certified and ready to help.

A Four-legged Life of Impact

Over the next nine and a half years, Beau and Caroline would put in an average of 300 hours per month of service to  many different underserved communities including people living with HIV/AIDS, persons living with disabilities, pediatric cancer, and at-risk youth.

Beau's id from the Rivington House

Beau had many talents. Besides making anyone he encountered, smile, he also knew how to help kids learn to read, taught them to be nice to animals which counteracted bullying in schools, and at RMH-NY, Beau would show serious love and affection to kids who might be anxious due to an upcoming surgery or lift the spirits of a child who just got back to the House after a round of intensive chemotherapy.

Beau always made it better.

“When Beau enters the room, the energy changes. He amazes me with his power. He is sincere and compassionate; he gives me courage. He knows how each patient feels, and when someone needs an extra pick-me-up. He knows just the right time to cuddle when someone is feeling down. When we leave a facility, the patients always thank Beau and me for visiting. I always reply, ‘No, thank you for allowing us to visit you.’ Our visits aren’t just therapeutic for the patients, but therapeutic for Beau and me as well.”

    ---Caroline writes on  https://www.beautherescue.com/about

Utilizing Beau’s many talents came naturally to Caroline. Quickly, they were providing services for many organizations and their weekly calendar began to fill up fast and well in advance. It seems the pair truly appreciated staying busy.

A Week in the Life

Busy does not even begin to describe the everyday life of Beau and Caroline. Not to mention that Caroline also works a full-time job in the fashion industry. At any given point in the year, their weekly schedule would have looked something like this:

Monday Night

Rivington House Visit

Tuesday Night

Terrance Cardinal Cooke and Beth Israel Visits

Wednesday Afternoon/Evening

A photoshoot for Vogue 

Thursday Night

Ronald McDonald House New York

Saturday Daytime

Prepare for the next Strutt your Mutt, visit multiple rescue pup adoption events

Sunday Night

Beth Abraham Family of Health Services Visit

Let’s just say that there is not an Upper East Side socialite who kept the kind of jam-packed calendar of events these two kept on a weekly basis.

Addicted to Serving

Caroline and Beau never really slowed down from the moment they received their certificate to help. They lived on the Upper East Side of New York City where there was never a shortage of organizations that could always use a helping ‘paw’.

Throughout Beau’s life, he and Caroline regularly offered their therapy services to more than 30 organizations across the city including the Weill Cornell Center, Alliance Homecare, A Fair Shake for Youth, Pet Partners, American Red Cross, Best Friends Animal Society, Pet Philanthropy Circle, Macy’s, FIT, NYU Langone Medical Center and bideawee.

Beau has been honored by more than just a few of these organizations over the course of his life. The following organizations have honored Beau for his service:

  • American Humane Association
  • Angel on a Leash
  • Beth Abraham Center
  • The Jewish Weekly
  • Pennsylvania SPCA
  • International Court System
  • FEMA
  • Imperial Court – New York
  • Celebrity Catwalk
  • Yorkie911 Rescue
  • The Westminster Kennel Club
  • Ronald McDonald House New York

Caroline and Beau Honored with RMH-NY’s Hope Award

Beau with RMH-NY cancer patients

When Caroline and Beau were honored with the Hope Award, they had already been amazing members of the House Therapy Dog Team for seven years. Their ability to bring absolute joy into Ronald McDonald House New York every single time they arrived, made them the ideal recipients of the honor.

This was a part of the beautiful speech about Caroline and Beau when received The Hope Award:

Our third recipient of the Hope Award is Caroline Loevner. Caroline, a Therapy Dog Team Member for over seven years, is an exemplary volunteer. When Caroline and Beau, her therapy dog, enter the House, they “radiate compassion and love” and instantly bring smiles to our families’ faces. On Thursday nights, our families can often be found waiting in the lobby in anticipation of their visit.

Caroline’s unparalleled positivity and devotion to the House are evident in all that she does. Her fellow volunteers describe her as “that shining star” who constantly takes the initiative to get involved with all aspects of the House. Whenever there is a special event or volunteer need, Caroline will always step up to support while offering kind words and a smile. She continuously thinks about ways to give back to the House.

For example, she visits a care facility through another organization with her dog Beau, and when they wanted to pay her for her service, she refused and asked that they donate the money to the House instead. Caroline has truly demonstrated what it means to be a volunteer at the House.

 

Caroline was presented with The Hope Award in 2018. Caroline has received many very much deserved awards for her amazing service to so many organizations. However, some might argue that Beau always took over and seemed to assume the spotlight whenever he was present. My guess is Caroline loved that Beau was always the center of any room they were in.

Beau, the Celebrity

Beau on the cover of Vanity Fair

Beyond the fact that Beau has been featured in many of our House publications, he is a very big deal. Check it out.

RMH-NY newsletter with Beau in it

Beau has had quite the career as a professional dog model. He has been featured in a David Yurman campaign, in National Geographic, Vanity Fair with Lorenzo Jovanotti, and Vogue Paris. Beau was even able to steal a feature in the Couture Dogs of New York book. Yet, the very best of them all must have been the spread he did opposite Jane Krakowski in The Wrap Magazine. Here are a few of those shots:

Beau and Jane Krakowski in The Wrap Magazine

Beau and Jane Krakowski in The Wrap Magazine looking at each other

Beau and Jane Krakowski in The Wrap Magazine 2

Beau had a sense of comedy that you just can't teach. He was definitely a natural.

Beau’s celebrity status might have gone to any other dog’s head, but he never let the notoriety get in the way of his real day-to-day job to give back to those less fortunate. Surely, it was just due to some very good mothering. 

Fun Facts About Beau

Beau and Caroline’s heart of service was an unstoppable force for good.  Here are even more fun facts that show the ways this pair gave back to their community:

Beau the dog is in a kissing booth for charity

  1. Beau once was the premiere feature in a kissing booth where people would pay one dollar (a fundraiser for Best Friends Animal Society) and Beau would give them the biggest, wettest, sloppiest kiss he could muster.
  2. Beau helped a stroke patient speak again.
  3. Caroline and Beau played a huge part in trying to save the Rivington House, a center for people living with HIV/AIDS on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Beau and Caroline also spent years as the only doggy volunteer duo that visited patients regularly.
  4. Caroline and Beau founded and walked in a fundraiser called Strut Your Mutt, a two-mile dog walk to raise money for local dog rescues in partnership with Best Friends Animal Society.
  5. Beau participated as a model on the runway in A Night of a Thousand Gowns, an fancy event that raises money for the LGBTQ+ community.

Thank You from the House

Though the House was remarkably sad on the day that Caroline sent us the news about Beau, so many stories and memories of him throughout the years were shared and his memory was cemented in the walls of Ronald McDonald House New York until the end of time.

To Caroline

Thank you for your heart of service and the dedication that both you and Beau showed our families throughout the years. The gifts that you and Beau shared with all of us every single Thursday evening (and many other evenings too) when you walked through our front doors and greeted your adoring fans are far too numerous to count. We are blessed and forever grateful that you and Beau chose our House to pour your love into and I hope that you know the incredible amount of good your time and Beau’s time in this House did for so many of our kids and families.

----------------

To give you just a little glimpse at the life-changing effect you have had, here are just a few of the comments and stories that we received from people who knew Beau and remembered how healing his presence was. When many of our families needed a friend like Beau, you answered the call and went above and beyond to make certain that everyone would benefit from it.

A Few Memories of Beau

Beau at Ronald McDonald House New York

Beau with the kids at RMH-NY

A letter from Malia

 Beau was such a sweet, steady presence on Thursday nights, and he was the most popular volunteer. One memory that comes to mind:

I once organized a "doggy bag" activity for the kids. The plan was to decorate paper bags and fill them with treats, then give them to the RMH-NY therapy dogs as a thank you for their service. Many of the kids who came to the playroom that evening said, "I want to make a bag for Beau!" Which was sweet. But at the same time, we needed to ensure that we made bags for all of the dogs, so a few kids had to be redirected. That was a moment when I realized just how beloved Beau was.

A Note from Bridgitte

Beau and Caroline were an amazing part of our Thursday night team.

Beau was so gentle and sweet, everyone at RMH-NY absolutely adored him. I remember when the firefighters dressed up as Santa clause and when they yelled "Ho Ho Ho", our sweet beau would quietly say "Beau Beau Beau". He always brought a smile to everyone's face, and he will truly be missed.

A Quote from John Rohs

I'm a dog lover, and especially big, furry, huggable dogs. When Beau came into the playroom on a Thursday night, it was like Elvis making an entry.  The kids just swarmed him. And Beau always responded with his version of an autograph...a big, sloppy smooch that inevitably made the recipient respond with an ear-to-ear smile. A very special puppy who will be greatly missed. And condolences to his "mom" Caroline who was always happy to share her beloved Beau with the kids and the families (and the volunteers), knowing how much happiness he brought to us all. Thanks Beau and thanks Caroline.

Slobbers and Smiles

Ronald McDonald House New York will always remember Beau as the rockstar volunteer with a heart of gold and the best slobbery face licking you could ever receive.

Our mission at RMH-NY is one that creates an atmosphere of inclusivity and a strong, compassionate circle of support for families of children with pediatric cancer and so many other serious, life-threatening illnesses. We also place a great deal of importance on the wellbeing of the child’s caregivers and family. With the help of volunteers like Caroline and Beau we complete our mission everyday. We would never be able to do that without the support of these incredibly selfless humans.

Beau and Caroline

Volunteers are the heart of the House and with hearts like Caroline and Beau’s, we will always succeed in providing our families with health equity plus all the slobbery kisses and ear-to-ear smiles that every single person deserves.

We will miss you, Beau!

Learn how you could become a volunteer at the House and serve the children and families of Ronald McDonald House New York just like Caroline and Beau did. Click here to visit the volunteers page of our website.

 

 


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