Twice a week, Emerald Retirement Residence welcomes two special guests: Fran and her wonderful dog, Chewbacca (Chewy for short). Chewy is a therapy dog that comes to visit our residents, whether greeting them in our activities room or going to the rooms of residents who are unable to come to him. Certified as a therapy dog by St. John’s Ambulance, the 6/12-year-old Shih-Poo brings companionship and unconditional love to all of our residents. Everyone loves to see Chewy!
About St. John’s Ambulance’s Therapy Dog Program
St. John’s Ambulance began its therapy dog program in 1992 and now has 3,000 therapy dog teams that improve the lives of people who are in need of a friendly visit. Therapy dogs can be found visiting senior residences across Ontario, including many senior residences in Niagara.
The therapy dog program at Emerald Retirement Residence provides an opportunity for our residents to talk and visit with Fran and Chewy; touch, pet and cuddle Chewy; carry-out or practice activities with Chewy present; and, of course, receive unconditional love and joy from Chewy.
The benefits of therapy dogs
As mentioned above, the therapy dog program improves the quality of living for the seniors in residence. Studies have found the following benefits:
- Great social engagement among seniors
- Residents talk more and participate in more activities
- Improved mood
- Stress relief
- Distraction from discomfort or pain
- Improved self-confidence and self-esteem
If you would like to come in and learn more about the therapy dog program and meet Fran and Chewy, click below to find out when Chewy will be in next and call to book a tour and visit at Emerald Retirement Residence!