Pet Therapy 101: We ♥ Dogs
With end of term and exams just around the corner, stress levels may be up … wouldn’t things be so much better if you were petting a dog?
U of M health and wellness has called in the canine reinforcements: St. John Ambulance therapy dogs will be here at the university over the next few days. Students, staff, faculty — everyone in the campus community is welcome to stop by for some impromptu pet therapy. Don’t miss it!
>> Also: Scroll down for three easy health and wellness tips from U of M’s health and wellness workshop leader.
St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program will be at U of M these days and times:
Friday April 4, 12:00 to 1:30, Buhler Atrium, Bannatyne Campus
Monday April 7, 11:30 to 1:30, Campo, 1st Floor, University Centre, Fort Garry Campus
Thursday April 10, 11:30 to 1:00, Buhler Atrium, Bannatyne Campus
More about the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program
The St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program is a community based service offered by St. John Ambulance Volunteers. The program started in June 1992 as a pilot program in Peterborough, Ontario and today reaches thousands of people on a regular basis throughout Canada.
Much of the success of the program is directly attributed to the renowned reputation of St. John Ambulance as a charity. St. John Ambulance has been involved in community service for over 900 years, and has recently celebrated its 125th Anniversary in 2008. St. John Ambulance Therapy Dogs have become a familiar sight in hospitals, retirement residences, long-term and short term care facilities. These four-legged volunteers are accepted in most places where a little care and love is greatly appreciated.
The Therapy Dog program provides an opportunity for patients/residents to:
- Talk with the volunteer and the dog
- Feel, touch, pet, stroke and/or cuddle the dog
- Receive unconditional love from the dog
- Assist with walking the dog on a leash
- Through petting, affection, and regular visitation of a dog, patients/residents find peace in the gentle contact with the dog and in its quiet presence. Patients talk more to others, participate in activities, eat and sleep better, smile more. As a result their quality of life is improved.
Other program benefits have been found to include:
- Reducing stress levels
- Lowering blood pressure
- Calming the distressed
- Comforting the despondent
- Distracting the pain-ridden
- Community involvement and volunteer satisfaction