Vancouver is known as one of the loneliest cities in the world and the Vancouver ecoVillage Therapy Dogs want to offer comfort and love to many who are alone this Christmas season. As a special fundraiser for the Therapy Dog Program, these 50 dogs will travel across Greater Vancouver to provide emotional support during the holidays to anyone in need of some extra company and emotional support.
The holidays are a particularly hard time to be alone and far from loved ones, and the therapy dogs are trained to relieve some of that stress. These special dogs have been trained for over 200 hours to follow a series of commands, not to react to sudden noises or movements and to remain calm while being petted by multiple people. All the therapy dogs are tested to make sure that they are comfortable around men, women and children of all ages.
"There is nothing like a tail wagging at you and the warm, soft body of a dog snuggling up to you" says Peter Ukai, a disabled senior at Pendrellis retirement home in Vancouver's West End. "This is always such a sensitive time for people. For many people it makes them think of their dog. It's just like having their dog here giving unconditional love."
Most of the therapy dogs are intuitive and adjust well depending on where they go and who they meet. Some of the dogs, like French Bulldog "Vita" affectionately known as "Meatball", are acutely aware of people in pain and are particularly empathetic. "Off-leash Vita will walk very slowly next to a patient with arthritis or who is just after surgery. She will lick patients with internal injuries in an attempt to heal them. In a group of people, she will usually accompany the last person in the group to make sure no one is left behind," says Vita's handler. "No amount of training can teach that kind of altruism to an animal. That's why therapy dogs are born and not made."
So Give a Gift of Love to yourself or even someone you don't know this Christmas and fill a heart with joy... You can Make a Difference that Matters. Find out how you can arrange for a special therapy dog visit.
What did you think of our therapy dogs? We’d love to hear from you! Leave your comments below and let us know!
Our PET EVENTS focusing on Mental Health Wellness have proven that interacting with affectionate dogs can reduce stress and anxiety, improve mood, lower blood-pressure and even decrease the perception of pain. These petting sessions offer students and staff who are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, the opportunity to increase socialization through interaction with dogs and people in a relaxing setting.
Do you have a gentle well-behaved dog who loves people and is nice to other dogs? You may want to find out about joining our Therapy Dog Program. Check our Requirements to see if you are a right match and contact us. Let's see whether your dog would be suitable to work as a Therapy Dog providing love and comfort to people in need in your community!