Charity Spotlight: This blog post is part of our charity spotlight series and was provided by Irene Valmas, Director of Communications and Public Relations at Therapeutic Paws of Canada.
On my first day as a volunteer with Therapeutic Paws of Canada, I had the pleasure of tagging along with Nancy Miller, the Scarborough, Ontario Co-Team Leader, accompanied by therapy dog, Charlie. Overly enthusiastic knowing that my colleague for the day was a dog with a badge, I couldn’t wait for the visit knowing we were going to brighten up someone’s day as the pair made their weekly visit to a local mental health facility.
And then we arrived. For me, the experience was something far beyond what I had expected as we walked through a set of doors to start the visit. In the first room sat several in-patients sitting together, but not interacting. They kept very much to themselves, looking down to the floor as we walked by.
It was only as soon as we turned the corner to enter the room and Charlie scurried through the door, that heads propped up, faces beamed, and pure joy was palpable throughout the room. As patients approached Charlie to greet him, they interacted with one another and even called upon others to let them know that their friend Charlie had arrived. As we were leaving, patients continued to interact with one another, an experience that was very different from what I noticed as we first walked in. Charlie’s presence had not only had a positive impact during the visit, Charlie left an uplifted mood and made a more positive day for the patients he visited.
An Unbreakable Bond
The bond between humans and animals continuously prove to have a positive effect on our overall health and well-being. Pet therapy is known to have both physiological and psychological benefits in relieving emotions of stress and anxiety, and other mental health issues as pets provide social support with a non-judgmental and unconditional love that is extremely helpful when in distress or if during times of need. Our four-legged friends—both cats and dogs—help those with physical, mental, educational, motivational, socialization challenges.
It is because of these incredible benefits that Therapeutic Paws of Canada (TPOC) does what we do. Founded in 2002 by Judy Sauvé, TPOC is a national non-profit organization with over 600 volunteers, providing animal resources for human needs through regular visits by members of their community with their pets. We participate in both senior and child programs that visit hospitals, long-term care centres, retirement residences, schools, libraries, nursing homes, and anywhere there is a need.
At Therapeutic Paws of Canada, we are 100 percent reliant on the participation of volunteers and operates solely by donations. Always looking for new volunteers, whether you have a cat or dog, we’re always looking for additional friends to brighten up someone’s day.