For nearly 30 years, St. John Ambulance therapy dogs have provided four-legged comfort at hospitals, care homes, schools, and workplaces across Canada.
“We basically bring calm and comfort to those that are needing it,” says Sandra Holomis, the unit facilitator for the Victoria dog therapy team. “Animals, there’s no judgment, they don’t judge anything or anyone and they just want to give smiles in any way that they can and that is just a huge component of what we do.”
Due to the pandemic, the program is currently on hiatus, so St. John is launching virtual dog therapy sessions for Stress Awareness Day.
“Some of our teams and their dogs are doing 15-minute visits and in the hopes of just really reconnecting with those that they haven’t been able to see through this pandemic,” says Holomis.
Participants get to hear about each dog and their volunteering as well as ask questions to their owners and see some fun dog tricks. It’s something both those missing their visits and pet owners are looking forward to.
“Just to be able to give some distraction to individual’s pains, whether it be physical or mental, is just an awesome opportunity,” says Holomis.
The sessions run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, April 16.
To book a spot, visit the supports St. John website and donate either $10 or $20.