Being from a healthcare background, I must say that I was very excited to write this blog. The entire health care team is so vital to the care and recovery of a person’s health and that team includes the patient and their families. It’s not all machines, drugs and diagnostic tools. It may not be very scientific to say, but I believe that there is more to healing than just healing the physical body; there are some diseases and traumas that we go through that take more than just an antibiotic or a surgery to help us heal. Some illnesses we get over quickly and some linger on and others we don’t shake off at all. It’s these illnesses that we need emotional support, the love of our family and friends, and, of course, our furry friends, to get through the stress and ups and downs of physical ailments. We have mentioned before that there is scientific evidence that states owning a pet will increase longevity as well as the act of petting a pup can decrease your blood pressure and bring on those happy endorphins. When science, metaphysics, and pups combine, the result is a calmer, happier and healthier person, and this is where the Therapeutic Paws of Canada shine.
We had the privilege of speaking with the Director of Team Leaders of Therapeutic Paws of Canada Michele Peddle who talked to us about this fantastic volunteer non-profit organization. We all know owning a pet can do wonders for your health because of all the joy they bring, but the breadth of service these calm, social, well mannered pups bring to the community is remarkable. Dogs (and cats, actually!) are brought to those in need including hospitals, residences, nursing homes, schools, libraries, prisons and even courtrooms to provide comfort to both adults and children. I found it unreal the niche these pups fill for people in the community who would benefit from simply petting a pooch for fifteen minutes such as children with severe disabilities, autism, behavioural issues and paralysis. A new use for therapy dogs includes having a dog present in court while a victim of sexual assault or human trafficking can be calm enough to tell their story. Amazing. In Brampton, “Gordon” the court dog will be receiving an award for his services. Gordon is featured in the main image of this post.
During our interview, Michelle made a statement that blew me away. Michelle noted “dogs don’t judge people”. Despite our best intentions and willingness to help, as humans it is sometimes difficult to overcome our ego as well as our tendency to judge others. It happens. Someone comes into the emergency department because they hurt themselves driving drunk. You don’t understand why a young, intelligent girl just committed suicide over a boyfriend or why a woman who is addicted to cocaine is having her third child. I bet you judged a few times just reading these sentences. We may be caregivers but we are not without our innate flaws. We may be damn good at our jobs but sometimes we hit a wall when it comes to compassion. No matter the circumstance, a pup just feels that there is a person in need be it a child, a prisoner, a person with physical limitations or just a lonely soul. They are pure in their intentions. This may not be a medical marvel, but it surely is a gift.
Therapeutic Paws of Canada is a registered charity with over 600 volunteers in six provinces who enlist themselves and their pups to spread the love. How does this all happen, you ask? Just like a prescribed medication or a surgery, it is not taken lightly. These animals are meant to have an impact on our health and therefore the pups that come on board are rigorously screened for their temperament and capacity as a therapeutic dog. Dogs and their handlers who are interested in joining this great charity go through a phone interview and an evaluation. Reference checks and police records report must be submitted; they are a necessity due to the demographics the team (master and pooch!) will be working with. The next step is a series of monitored visits and lastly, if all checks out, the pup will be certified and insured. There are various breeds of four-legged furries that do this great work – it’s all about their temperament. If you’ve been moved to take up with Therapeutic Paws of Canada as I have, check out their website at www.tpoc.ca and contact a Team Leader for your city – you don’t need a medical degree to help turn someone’s life around.
If you are interested in meeting Therapeutic Paws of Canada, they will be at “Bark in the Park” on August 26th and 27th from 10:00am-4:00pm in Bowmanville! We will be there with Titan in toe ready to blog another amazing summer puptacular event! Hope to see you there!
If you’d like to donate to Therapeutic Paws of Canada please click the donate button below.