Five new St. John Ambulance certified therapy dogs are ready to strut their stuff in the Williams Lake area.
“In total including 100 Mile we have 12 teams, which means a handler and a dog,” said Karen Wright, facilitator for the South Cariboo region.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic there was a delay getting the new dogs certified.
Wright started with an information session on March 5, 2020 then had to put things on hold.
While she could hold orientation sessions by zoom, the evaluations had to be done in person.
With restrictions lifted, she was able to finally host the dog evaluations at the 150 Mile House Volunteer Fire Department’s hall.
The newly-certified dogs are Maya a golden retriever owned by Wright, Ede a German shepherd owned by Kimberly Futcher, Mogli a border collie belonging to Wendy Chevigny, Tuck a border collier owned by Colleen Hodgson and Emma a yellow Labrador retriever owned by Patricia Moore.
“I would like to thank Sally McCarthy for the use of the hall,” Wright said.
Locally the therapy dogs visit long-term care facilities and Cariboo Memorial Hospital and some special events.
Wright has been involved with the program since 2016. Originally living and working in the Lower Mainland, she and her husband had camped in the Cariboo for many years before deciding to retire in the area.
It is her way of giving back to the community, she said.
“It’s wonderful spending time with seniors and children in long-term care facilities, hospitals, schools and libraries. Seeing the dogs bring so much comfort and joy to those they interact with is very rewarding.”