Employees of the Timmins Police Service are the latest group in Timmins to benefit from the volunteer-run St. John Ambulance therapy dog program.
It currently has 18 calm, gentle personal pets whose humans take them into workplaces, long term care homes, the Jubilee Centre and Youth Hub, among others, to visit and help people deal with stress.
Coordinator Wende Lemieux says it breaks up someone’s busy day.
“We try to be consistent with visits that they almost get the some dogs every week, so people know the names and know the handlers, and it just makes people happy,” she explains.
A six-year-old Bernedoodle named Takoda – meaning “friend of all” – visits once a week with his human, Shelley Deslauriers. They make the rounds in the 9-1-1 dispatch centre and other offices. Deslauriers says it allows workers a few minutes to de-stress with Takoda’s help.
“He just loves when you put his scarf on him,” she tells My Timmins Now Dot Com. “We get out the door, he knows what we’re going to be doing, so he gets to meet everybody.”
Information on the dog program is available from the St. John Ambulance local office.