Donna Goodwin receives a welcome visit from her friend Moby, a trained therapy dog who has a knack for making new friends at Shuswap Lake General Hospital. -File Image. Credit: Lachlan Labere

Could your dog help others?

Interaction with a therapy pets provides therapeutic benefits to enhance quality of life.

  • Nov. 9, 2017 2:20 p.m.

Therapy dogs have been proven to have psychological benefits and a local organization is hoping your pooch could provide help to others.

The LifeLine Canada Foundation’s Companion Paws Program is holding two Therapy Dog Workshops in Penticton on Nov. 19, 2017 and Jan. 20, 2018 from 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

To qualify as a therapy dog, the dog must have an up-to-date medical health records letter from his or her veterinarian, must have no aggression towards people or other dogs (including un-neutered male dogs) and be well trained.

Related: Be their lifeline, stand up for mental health

Companion Paws pets are not Service Dogs or Guide Dogs.

Companion Paws pets are designated as Therapy Animals.

Therapy Dogs are tested in therapy dog companion obedience.

Interaction with a Therapy Pets provides therapeutic, calming, motivational, educational and recreational benefits to enhance quality of life.

Companion Paws Therapy Dog Certification is a two-part process for Visiting (where a team of owner and dog visit schools, care centres, hospitals and other facilities), Assisted (Where doctors, therapists, teachers and educators use their dog with students, clients and patients) and Personal Therapy Dogs.

For personal therapy dog certification, you must have a letter from your current mental health professional.

The workshop is a mandatory pre-evaluation to assess you and your dog’s readiness for the final evaluation.

For more details, guidelines and to register for the Companion Paws Pre-Evaluation Workshop, please visit www.TheLifeLineCanada.ca

You must pre-register as there is limited space available for each workshop.

According to LifeLine Canada the mental health benefits of therapy dogs include;

  • lifts spirits and lessens depression.
  • lowers feelings of isolation and alienation.
  • encourages communication.
  • provides comfort.
  • increases socialization.
  • lessens boredom.
  • reduces anxiety.
  • aids children in overcoming speech and emotional disorders.
  • creates motivation for the client to recover faster.
  • reduces loneliness.
  • lowers blood pressure.
  • improves cardiovascular health.
  • releases calming endorphins (oxytocin).
  • lowers overall physical pain.
  • the act of petting produces an automatic relaxation response, which has reduced the amount of medication needed by some people.

The LifeLine Canada Foundation (TLC) is a registered non-profit committed to positive mental health and suicide prevention in Canada and Worldwide.

For more details click here.


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