Therapy dogs have a new and wonderful job
Zorie, a beautiful golden retriever and these other dogs are part of the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program and have been given a new job in the Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Ontario. Recognizing that airports can be very stressful and emotional places for many, the volunteers offered to bring their well trained companions to help people cope. Most of us have experienced the joy of meeting relatives or friends who have just arrived from far away, but often, the wait can be difficult, even traumatic. Uncertainty and worry can cause a variety of emotional responses. Petting these dogs and interacting with them has a very visible effect on everyone. People can’t help but forget their worry and become calmer and happier.
Volunteers move with their animals through arrivals and departures and greet anyone who wants to spend time with the dogs. They frequently receive requests from different areas of the airport and they will go where they are needed most. The time they spend in the airport is time that they donate, but that is only a small part of their selfless gift. The training required to ensure that these dogs are properly equipped to deal with their work is also very significant.
This program is now used Canada wide, as was Jim Newell’s dream when he and his wife, Doreen began training dogs and volunteers many years ago. Jim was an animal lover beyond comparison, as well as a highly decorated war veteran. He spent his life serving and assisting others and inspiring people around him to do the same. The therapy dog movement in Canada is Jim’s legacy of love.