Digital therapy-dog visits goal to convey ‘pawsitivity’ on Stress Consciousness Day – Surrey Now-Chief

The St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program may be suspended due to the pandemic, however there are plans to provide some “paw sensitivity” to those who need it on Stress Awareness Day.

On April 16, four-legged volunteers will be available for virtual convenience through a one-day model designed to “create the connection so many people crave and raise money for the program”.

According to a press release, dogs like Molly, a golden retriever, and Penelope, a mini Goldendoodle, will be available for donated 15-minute Zoom visits.

Both dogs have been St. John Ambulance volunteers for over two years. Molly specializes in visiting senior residences and workplaces like law firms, and her associate Shirley Earle said it never gets old when you see the difference in mood in everyone who meets her.

“Dogs give non judgmental and unconditional love, and Molly shows that wherever she goes. We miss our visits so much and we know that all of the seniors we have visited in the past also miss their weekly comforts, ”Earle said in the press release.

“We know that nothing can replace the physical part of our visits, but I hope we can fill some of that void with Molly’s virtual presence at this difficult time.”

Penelope and her handler Ryan Ward, prior to the pandemic, visited a nursing home to provide distraction for staff and camaraderie for seniors. They also supported various therapy dog ​​community events.

Ward praised Penelope’s calming effects.

“The break from visits is a loss for us and them in both directions. We’re glad we can find ways to still be there, even if it’s only possible through a screen. Dogs have the ability to make their surroundings positive, and Penelope loves making people smile, ”said Ward.

Canine team volunteers have also visited residents of White Rock’s Peace Arch Hospital complex in recent years, including the Dr. Al Hogg Pavilion.

CONTINUE READING: Therapy dogs give paws to patients for good health

During the 15-minute visits on April 16, participants “can expect to learn about dogs and their volunteering, the importance of dogs for mental health, ask questions or share their own stories, and maybe even watch how the puppy shows some talents and tricks, ”the press release reads.

The event takes place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Anyone interested in booking a visit is asked to make a $ 10 or $ 20 donation to the Therapy Dog Program at supportja.ca/stress-awareness-day. An email is then sent to book for a time slot.

For more information, please email bcy.fundraising@sja.ca or call 604-321-2652, extension 2721.

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