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October 27, 2017 9:43 pm

Therapy Dogs Celebrate Assistance Animal Day

Sunday, August 7, 2016 @ 7:24 AM


Prince George, B.C.- They say every dog has its day,  and tomorrow, that day has come as  it is  dedicated to  honour Assistance Animals.

Max, Yogi and Henry  aren’t  technically  assistance animals,  although they do assist in a number of ways.   They are Therapy Dogs,   offering comfort and assurance to those  helped by  Prince George RCMP’s Victim Services.

(At right, Max, Yogi and Henry on a walk -photo courtesy PG Victim Services)

In honour of Assistance Animal Day, the Prince George RCMP Victim Services’ Crisis Response and Therapy Dog Team are hosting a meet and greet at the local Detachment. From 3-4 pm tomorrow  at the PG RCMP detachment,  the public can  meet  the dog team, and take part in some fun events.

Max , the yellow lab ,  is  already well known in the community, having comforted  those at the police station, or witnesses appearing in court, and  even a juror who was overcome with emotion.  There are two smaller dogs now undergoing  training to join the Therapy Dog team, they are Yogi (a pug)  and Henry (a Schnauzer/Shitzu cross).

The two new recruits, are  catching along well in their training, says Krista Levar, Victim Services Coordinator with  the Prince George  RCMP “Yogi for instance is  really motivated.  He wants to do  one trick after another,  he just wants to rush through them, so he’ll do the sit, stay, lay, back to back, so it’s no,   slow down,  let’s do them one at a time.  Henry is a bit calmer and a little bit  more mellow.  He will try to please, but he   does it  slower, which is actually what  you want.”

Having smaller dogs  as part of the  Dog Therapy team  is  important says Levar, “It’s new,  I like it, especially  with the court situation as Max is quite big. When he’s  on the witness stand with kids,  he  takes up the whole box with them.  I just thought it would be neat to see how a little guy  who is a little more portable, can fit.  Little guys can just sit on a person’s lap if needed,  they are just a little more portable.  If I bring Max, I know that I have to have  a  safe place for them to walk, whereas with the little guys, you can pick them up and carry them  if need be.”

Monday’s event will also be good training ground for the new recruits  “Any kind of opportunity where you take  them to new  environments,   that’s 100% of what we’re doing,   getting them to know what it’s like to be in crowds, to know what it’s like  to be around loud noises and also  to get them familiar with the police station itself and also just being around  lots of kids, lots of things.  It gives us a chance to see  what their strengths are and where they need more training.”

Levar says  events  will include  putting the dogs through their paces, “We might even have an ice cream eating contest between the two little guys. I wouldn’t  include Max in that because he would just gobble up the ice cream in one gulp and win.  There will be cookies and things for  kids,  just an opportunity  to  find out more about what they( the dogs) do and how they work and where they work.”

“Max and the little guys are not Assistance Dogs,  they are therapy dogs ” says Levar, “But they are supporting their Assistance Dog brothers and sisters who are  in the world helping others.”





There are a few other therapy dogs in our city. My mom is in Simon Fraser lodge and loves when the volunteers show up with their dogs. Also have a friend who has a few of these dogs and just loves seeing the smiles on people’s faces when she brings them to the different homes in town.

Does any one know how a dog can become a therapy dog? Thanks for the help!

    Based on reading the article, those therapy dogs are trained by RCMP victim services. A call to them should provide you with the answer.

    They are, however, not the only therapy dogs. Basically a therapy dog provides affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices, disaster areas, and to people with autism.

    Pavlov’s School of Dog Psychology?

St Johns Ambulànce runs a therapy dog program in P.G. for old folks visits and other facilities wanting a visit from a frìendly dog and their handler/owner.

    Thanks! Appreciate the answer. Just got a English bull dog pup. Was thinking of enrolling her/us in a program that would help us give back to the community.

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