Hey, Free Korean Dogs family! We all know how wonderful our dogs are and how much they bring to our lives, but have you ever considered sharing your dog’s beautiful personality with others who could really benefit from the experience? Free Korean Dogs (FKD) is exploring the therapy dog program with St. John’s Ambulance. This program arranges for approved therapy dogs to visit seniors homes, libraries, and other facilities where the presence of a dog can bring comfort, joy and a reduction in anxiety.
The process is quite straightforward. Firstly, the dog must be at least one year of age, and have been in the owner’s care for a minimum of six months. The dog must also be up to date on all vaccines. The owner registers for an intake orientation session at their local St. John’s Ambulance branch, which are normally held twice a year in the Spring and the Fall. In order to be a part of the program the owner must commit to volunteering for a minimum of one hour, once a week, with allowances made for illness, holidays, etc. The dog is then assessed in order to ensure that their personality is suitable for therapy work. This includes such qualities as being friendly to people and other dogs, comfort with being touched and handled, and being unafraid of unusual items that might be encountered such i.v. poles and carts. Once these steps are passed the owner and dog can begin their therapy visits, which occur with the support of a mentor volunteer and dog the first two or three times.
If this sounds like something you would be interested to do with your dog, contact your local St. John’s Ambulance branch for intake dates and more information. FKD is hoping to document the journey of a few of our dogs through the program. The therapy dog program will not only benefit the people who are part of the dogs’ visits, but will also demonstrate the remarkable potential of rescue dogs both to people here in Canada and to our amazing partners in rescue in South Korea.
Should you decide to participate in the program, remember to share the journey with the FKD family with photos, videos, and updates!
Written by Carrie Langdon