Can you imagine being in a hospital or a living somewhere where you could not have your pets around you? This is the reality for many people, but thanks to the kindness of many volunteers, many hospital or retirement centre residents have had the benefit of visits from people with their pets. The medical profession has for many years widely acknowledged that petting and stroking pets can have a calming effect, lower blood pressure and relieve tension.
There are a few ways to get started in this kind of activity. You can contact one of the organizations which offer training and orientation. Usually, there is some kind of temperament assessment for your dog and then an orientation session for you. Some dog organizations have their own pet visitation programs. And at times, some people contact the centre of their choice and develop their own program. This is definitely a rewarding experience. The St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog program evaluates their dogs by conducting a similar test as the CGC test. A potential therapy dog must pass each aspect of the test before it can become a registered therapy dog. The various steps are outlined on the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dogs page.
St. John Ambulance Therapy Dogs – Canada
Therapeutic Paws of Canada
Pet Therapy Society of Northern Alberta
Therapy Dogs International
The Delta Society
Therapy Dogs Canada E-mail List
Nursing Home Visits
Photo Credit: Lianne Daradics