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St. John Ambulance continuing therapy dog program in Fort St. John

St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program facilitator Faye Anstey with ELC students Brynn Shaw and Lexie Brown-John. Supplied photo
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CORRECTION: Therapy Dog Program Facilitator Faye Anstey said that the program has been up and running for the past years. She added that currently, there is a team of eight volunteers and dogs.

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The St. John Ambulance’s therapy dog program got a big boost earlier this summer.

The St. John Ambulance launched its Therapy Dog Program, which is a volunteer organization led by Unit Facilitator Faye Anstey.

There are currently eight certified handlers with the program, who bring their certified dogs on visits to local venues including Peace Villa Care Home, The Association for Community Living 4-plex, Abbeyfield House, Peace Lutheran Apartments, the Chetwynd Hospital, and a variety of other community events.

A local resident being visited by a therapy dog. Supplied photo

The program’s handlers and dogs are evaluated after the dogs reach the age of 2, to test the temperament of the dog as well as the behaviour of the handler in a variety of situations.

When visiting one of the locations, the team will spend 1 to 2 hours visiting residents or students, allowing the canines to offer companionship and stress relief.

On June 2nd, the program got a big boost when Energetic Learning Campus students Brynn Shaw and Lexie Brown-John helped raise $1,000 through a Dog wash, where they scrubbed over 50 dogs clean. The school project was geared towards bringing awareness to the need of therapy dogs in our community.

Anstey says that the program has proved very comforting for many of the people the dogs and their handlers visit, as the dog teams and visited all look forward to the weekly trips.

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To learn more about the St John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program, please email Faye Anstey at FortStJohnTDP@SJABCY.ca.

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