BC Children’s Hospital Foundation launches pet therapy program for health-care workers

A new partnership at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver will see therapy dogs visit to promote mental wellness among healthcare staff. Submitted

Furry companions will be seen at BC Children’s Hospital in an effort to help health-care staff “cope with stress, anxiety and work-related health issues.”

It’s a new partnership with PetSmart Charities of Canada, creating a new “pet therapy program,” in efforts to promote physical and mental healing to help address stress involved with providing care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s wonderful to see pet therapy program dogs visiting the hospital and putting smiles on the faces of the health-care staff,” said Malcolm Berry, BC Children’s Hospital Foundation president and CEO.

“The past two and a half years have provided challenges for everyone and the staff at BC Children’s Hospital are no exception. When our dedicated hospital staff are taking their breaks, the therapy dogs provide a healthy and peaceful environment and a much-needed distraction for care workers.”

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All of the volunteers and dogs are evaluated by St. John’s Ambulance and BC Pets and Friends before being allowed into the facility.

Click to play video: 'Meet the Canucks Place therapy dog having a huge impact on lives of children'
Meet the Canucks Place therapy dog having a huge impact on lives of children

Health-care workers say they couldn’t be more excited to see furry, four-legged friends in their workplace.

“When the therapy dogs greet me during my workday, I immediately feel my shoulders relax and I can’t help but smile,” said nurse Kelsey McCormick.

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“After visiting with therapy dogs, I feel calmer and more equipped to deal with the tasks at hand.”

Click to play video: 'Hugging a dog good for mental well-being, B.C. study suggests'
Hugging a dog good for mental well-being, B.C. study suggests

Nearly $700,000 has been granted to PetSmart Charities of Canada to support animal-assisted therapy programs across the country.

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BC Children’s Hospital is the only hospital in the province devoted exclusively to the care of children and youth.

Click to play video: 'St. John Ambulance therapy dogs celebrate milestone anniversary'
St. John Ambulance therapy dogs celebrate milestone anniversary

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