Who needs novocaine?

A dentist and orthodontist couple visited Best Friends recently and shared a unique trick of their trade. Back in Brooklyn where they practice, they employ a director of stress management who takes his pay in back rubs and tasty treats. It’s their companion dog, a 10-year-old Maltese named Shaney!

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Shaney (shown left) has been coming to the office with Louis Sterling (the dentist) and his wife, Sarah Skurnick (the orthodontist), since he was a puppy. Early on, Shaney discovered that the office was a veritable goldmine for affection and ear scratches. All he had to do was make himself accessible.

Here’s how Shaney works as the director of stress management – a job he likes so much they couldn’t fire him if they tried! He sits on laps during dental visits. Yup. Every patient who comes in has the opportunity to let Shaney sit on his or her lap during the dental work, whether it’s a 15-minute job or a two-and-a-half-hour ordeal. At least 95 percent of the patients gladly allow Shaney to perform his job. People come from miles away (as much as 100 miles, in some cases) to visit with Shaney. Now that’s the sign of a job well done.

Louis and Sarah volunteered at the sanctuary for a couple days and spent a lot of their time in the dog areas. Dogs lined up for miles to submit resumes in case Shaney ever wants an assistant. Hmm, wonder if a 100-pound lap-Rottweiler would have the same soothing effect?

Written by David Dickson. Photos by Molly Wald and Shaney's family.