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St. John Therapy Dogs help relieve stress of exams at PECI

StJohnTherapyDogs-at-PECIAs student prepared to write their semester final exams, many were surprised to be greeted by a team of five therapy dogs and their handlers from St. John Ambulance.
“The dogs are wonderful.  They provide a comfort and help their interaction with our students help to relieve stress and anxiety. We are grateful for their visit,” said Matt Ronan, Head of Guidance at PECI.
The St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program is designed to bring joy and comfort to the sick, lonely and people in need of a friendly visit. The program started in June, 1992 as a pilot program in Peterborough and today nearly 3,000 Therapy Dog teams reach thousands annually.

Filed Under: Featured ArticlesHastings & Prince Edward District School BoardPECI - It's a Panther Thing


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  1. Wolf Braun says:

    Thx for sharing that Louise.

  2. Louise says:

    My dad is in a nursing home in Quebec and his favorite day is when the service dogs are visiting. It`s the only time we can get a smile from him.

  3. R.Richman says:

    We can thanks lawyers and judges for the mess we are in. People fence in open space to keep people out so they do not get sued. Dogs and cats are keep out of senior homes so no one gets sued etc. Next we will not be able to toboggin down a hill or play shinng on the harbour or walk down the street because someone may sue the county. What is wrong with the judges that make this happen. What is wrong with the MP’s MPP’s Premiers and PM’s over the years that has brought us to this point. One thing and one thing only money. I thing if I decide to go down the hill on Mary Street on a toboggin and I get hurt, my fault.I guess I am stupid because I could sue and get a pocket full of money.

  4. Wolf Braun says:

    Healing dogs have also been trained to comfort people recovering from major illnesses like cancer. Dogs have also been trained to recognize when a person is going to have a seizure (epilepsy). There is no legitimate reason (that makes sense) to keep a St Johns dog away from a nursing home.

  5. Gary says:

    Yes Marnie. ST Johns dog would be no concern. Most all dogs are loving unless breeded for meanness and mistreated by humans. Dogs are loving and faithful. They also enjoy making people feel better. If one is ill they will stay with you throughout as they can sense. When we protect everyone on Earth because of liabilities we lose so much. Life on earth should not be so restricted.

  6. Marnie says:

    It’s sad but true Gary – people now look for reasons to sue. St. John therapy dogs are well-tested for temperament but nobody tests the humans. All it takes is one complaint and a very minor scrape or bruise to put a destruction order on a dog.

  7. Gary says:

    Bought my laundry tub taps. Just think I will change them tomorrow without the permit! Lol. My dog will most likely assist. Dogs do not ask for much other than food and love but give so much more in return. No doubt in my mind that they are therapeutic for seniors.

  8. lou says:

    hmm maybe you can have a little visit Gary ….

    I saw a little sign on the doors to McFarland
    says …………Dogs must be on a leash

    (sorry cant remember the exact wording).

    what that means , I don’t know.
    Maybe its a dog visiting ONE resident (like a family member)
    as for visiting and making rounds with a dog, maybe another thing

    we should check

    I think there should be a visit on a frequent basis
    not once a blue moon

  9. Gary says:

    Yes Marnie it is a world gone mad. Liability and by-laws to cover everything from soup to nuts. You can’t even change the faucet on your laundry tub without a permit. When a dog cannot visit a long term care facility it is wrong. Just not right!

  10. Marnie says:

    Sadly Gary there are liability issues connected with what you have suggested. In today’s crazy world people sue in a heart beat. This may be one reason that Shire Hall is not warming to the idea of dogs at McFarland Home. All it takes is a single incident that well may not be the dog’s fault and a problem could arise.

  11. Gary says:

    So can I take a vaccinated people friendly golden lab into Mcfarland to brighten up the day?

  12. Emily says:

    Why has Council not provided us a costing of the contracted services for McFarland? We are the taxpayers and were promised transparency. Something doesn’t smell right here. Let’s get some info out here. We sure know the residents who pay their way haven’t been given that.

  13. Susan says:

    Has anyone heard a peep from councilors in regards to the McFarland Home? Has there been an imposed ssilence?

  14. lou says:

    just sad that “they” didn’t think about the residents and their little fun with “the little dog”.
    I know some residents, and that is a highlight to have a visit.

    I do know of an employee that wanted to bring her dog for a visit, and was told NO.

    I do understand if someone has allergies

    but a quick visit of a dog to a resident (that wants the visit and is not allergic) is fine.
    it wouldn’t cause allergen problems with that type of visit.

    time to revisit this I think.

  15. Gary says:

    Look no further than for the commissioner with ice in her vains. Not a good fit for oversight of the McFarland Home.

  16. Lori Cairns says:

    I can’t imagine sharing a lifetime with dogs and cats only to end up in a nursing home that doesn’t allow them.

    What a cold-hearted decision. Obviously, that person has never known the love and devotion of a four legged friend. He/she has missed so much. The policy needs to be reversed NOW.

    Thanks for sharing the story of your Rudy, Wolf. He sounds a lot like my Airedale, Ralph. I miss my Ralph so much. He had a lot of friends around town.

  17. Mark says:

    Wonderful story Wolf. Glad Rudy could bring so many happiness. I don’t think one has to be an expert to realize how much joy dogs can be as companions or visitors. And there faithfulness is never in question unlike humans.

  18. Wolf Braun says:

    ” therapy dogs were not considered by individuals at Shire Hall to be beneficial”

    Dog assisted therapy (DAT). Patients diagnosed with a range of issues such as depression, bipolar disorder, autism, ADHD, PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and even Alzheimer’s Disease are found to benefit from their interaction with therapy pets (yes, cats are coming into their own), for the same reasons those with physical problems may heal more quickly.

    To be a good therapy animal, your dog must be friendly to all kinds of people, and quiet and calm in a variety of environments. Older dogs usually make the best therapy animals, as they are less excitable and know basic obedience.

    We had our German Sheppard certified by St. Johns back in 2000 when my mom had to go into a nursing home because of dimentia. Dogs and small babies make people with dimentia sit up and beam with happiness at seeing a dog or a baby. It’s a wonderful thing to watch. Our Rudy would walk around the room greeting each and every person and making their day special. He would allow them to pet him. He i turned nuzzled their hand. Rudy was the smartest dog I’ve ever owned. He lived to almost 14.

  19. Emily says:

    Your description of this just fits to well with the coldness and lack of empathy that is so instilled within Shire Hall not to be believed.

  20. John Chisling says:

    There was women with a therapy dog who visited Mc Farland Home over the time when Ellen Gervais was serving her final years.The woman with the therapy dog was told in that time ,that therapy dogs were not considered by individuals at Shire Hall to be beneficial She still lives in Picton ,harbouring resentment against the call to leave the dog at home.She will speak her mind should the reintroduction of therapy animals,birds,plants become an agenda item with the Residents or Family Council.
    Beth Piper introduced a recognized therapy programme to the Home and did so against strong ,determined obstacles at Shire Hall. The “little dog” much loved by residents was a dog that Lori Kimmett obtained.Because of Ministry guidelines,including restrictions on use of funds for therapy programmes, assumed the full care of the little dog.It went home with her.
    Ironic that immediately after the firing of both women, a sign went up on the doors to the Home:No dogs allowed.Who ever doesn’t want therapy animals at the Home, is fully aware of the benefits or not. They are also aware of staff objections to the therapy. May have been one of the allegations referred to in the press releases. Certainly is part of the rumours linked directly to staff.

  21. Susan says:

    Dogs are great therapy for all. But don’t count on seeing them at McFarland Home.

  22. Wolf Braun says:

    When my late mother moved to a nursing home in Kingston, we took our Rudy (a German Sheppard) and had him certified by St.John so that he could visit the home. Dogs are an amazing influence on people with the dementia. Both mom and our late Rudy loved the visits. We miss both of them.

  23. lou says:

    maybe you could bring the doggies to McFarland home . They had a lil dog everyday, and many residents LOVEd the dog (but as everyone knows that manager is no longer working there and it was her dog)

    its unfortunate, as the municipality never even thought how not having the dog around would affect the residents.
    and not replacing this.

    some residents are wondering where the dog is

  24. Janice Platt says:

    Gracie enjoyed the day with all the students!

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