“We are their family, if they are dog lovers we become their family.” Jenny Hauser the coordinator for the St.John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program.
Our four legged friends have earned the title of mans best friend but they are so much more than that. We have asked the cute animals to perform multiple jobs, one being a Therapy Dog.
Jenny Hauser has been with St.Johns ambulance for about 10 years, she first started volunteering with her dog Jade and then later on introduced the golden retriever Mulligan to the program. The pair educates and visits people through the program.
“There is a therapy dog always at the courthouse to help those giving testimonies to make it a little easier.” Hauser brought up. Though Mulligan does not have that duty he has visited children through different opportunities, Western university and extended care homes.
These duties the Mulligan and Hauser perform is all through volunteering, they chose to visit all these people just to put a smile on their face and relieve some stress.
“While you are petting a dog you focus on that connection, all that stress and worry goes away.” Hauser said while discussing the benefits of having that connection even for only ten minutes with a dog.
“Some patients at extended care get visitors everyday and they are very lucky but for a lot the only visitors they get are the staff so if they are dog people we become that support.” Hauser explained connecting how important this program is to so many people. She also explained how these patients know everything about Hauser, it goes both ways in most cases.
To get involved with this program is a serious commitment because those involved are truly changing lives. Many think the benefits of having a dog or really any pet is that they are cute. The truth is they are more amazing then we all think, they improve most people’s mental state.
If you are willing to get make that commitment you and your pet are not only helping others but also yourself. What the program is looking for in dogs is:
-loving and outgoing
-calm in all sorts of situations
The dogs and owners go through series of tests and trials, if they complete these tasks things will go from there.
For more information visit St.Johns ambulance
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