Ther­a­peu­tic dog pro­gram needs help

Cape Breton Post - - OUR COMMUNITY -

SYD­NEY — The lo­cal chap­ter of a na­tional ther­apy visi­ta­tion pro­gram is in need of a few good men and women and their dogs.

The re­cruiters are with Ther­a­peu­tic Paws of Canada, a vol­un­teer or­ga­ni­za­tion with a goal of lift­ing the spir­its of peo­ple in se­nior’s fa­cil­i­ties, hos­pi­tals and other places.

The in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar group is cur­rently short on dogs and their han­dlers to meet the grow­ing de­mand for the ser­vice it pro­vides.

“ There are a lot of peo­ple want­ing us, but we don’t have the num­bers,” said Paulette Cor­bett, the group’s pub­lic re­la­tions di­rec­tor.

“Some of the han­dlers are younger. They are in the work­force and can’t re­ally give any time un­til the evening and on the week­end.”

Cor­bett said the ser­vice has bright­ened the spir­its of many se­niors through the years. One of her favourite sto­ries is about a woman the group en­coun­tered while vis­it­ing the Cove Guest Home.

“She loves dogs, but had to leave her dog home. As soon as she saw the dog her face lit up. That just makes your day. The dog sat by her and was as calm as any­thing.”

She has also seen the pro­gram pro­vide ben­e­fits to many oth­ers, too.

“It is geared to­wards chil­dren, not only with learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties, but a child that is ex­tremely shy or hes­i­tant about read­ing. Once the child gets with a dog you can just see the con­fi­dence build­ing.”

Par­tic­i­pat­ing dogs also en­joy the ex­pe­ri­ence, she noted.

Cor­bett said friendly dogs and their own­ers in­ter­ested in get­ting in­volved are en­cour­aged to at­tend the group’s Feb. 21 eval­u­a­tion.

For more de­tails visit www.tpoc.ca or call 5622792 or 794-7734.

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