Therapy dogs calm kids and seniors, break through emotional barriers
herapy dogs aren’t new to Powell River. West Coast Access implemented a therapy dog program more than 20 years ago; St. John Ambulance brought theirs to Powell River a few years ago and earlier this year, Powell River Victim Services launched its own therapy dog program. Finnegan, a six-year-old chocolate Labrador Retriever, is the first canine member of Victim Services Powell River’s program.
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Finnegan started working for Victim Services in March. Prior to that, he used to be a St. John Ambulance therapy dog, says his owner Christine Schreiber, coordinator of the RCMP Victim Services program in Powell River. Finnegan has achieved his Level 1 and Level 2 certifications for Victim Service Dogs from the Caring Canine Institute in Prince George. Victim Services offers emotional
support to people who have just experienced crime or trauma, says Christine.
“He’s our family dog,” explained Christine who has four children. “I knew he’d be great with this. He’s calm and intuitive. He seems to get people’s energy and he’s not scared of emotions. If someone is crying he does not want to leave the room, he wants to sit with them.”
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