Mac, a therapy dog at UFV in Abbotsford, has been deployed to Kamloops to help bring comfort to wildfire evacuees.

Mac the therapy dog gives comfort to wildfire evacuees

Golden retriever’s usual role is at UFV in Abbotsford

A furry friend is helping to comfort those affected by the B.C. wildfires.

Mac, a golden retriever who serves as a “therapy dog” at University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) in Abbotsford, is in the midst of a seven-day deployment to the Kamloops evacuation centre with handler Dawn Holt.

Holt, a UFV counsellor, is registered as a clinician with the Provincial Emergency Health Services, which manages the provincial disaster psychosocial services team.

Mac is also registered as one of three PADS (Pacific Assistance Dogs Society) dogs on the team. (The other two are with police victim services.)

Holt and Mac left over the weekend and are now working one-on-one with individuals, providing clinical assistance where needed and offering psychological first aid to evacuees, staff and first responders.

“Mac and I will do whatever we are asked to do – from handling out water and food to doing mental health assessments,” Holt wrote in a statement before she left.

Mac’s Facebook page relates some of his experience so far: “The children who had to leave their beloved pets behind cried into my fur, the lady with diabetes leaned on me as we walked to the nurses tent, the volunteers … took a break to ruffle my fur and take some breaths.”

Mac, now 13, accompanies Holt to work every day at UFV, where he is the world’s first registered therapy dog working at a university.

There, he helps students cope with stress and is available for inclusion in counselling sessions. To retain his status, he is re-certified with Holt every year through PADS.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Financial literacy program expands across the Fraser Valley

Big Brain Literacy Program aims to help folks thwarted by the pandemic and in need of budgeting help

Missing Maple Ridge man’s car found in Harrison

Michael Denham has been missing since June 27

PHOTOS: Otter Co-op opens in east Abbotsford

New grocery store hosts grand opening on Monday morning

UFV grads of 2020 honoured in innovative ways

No convocation ceremony due to pandemic, but grads receive ‘celebration box’

Abbotsford Flea Market reopening on Sunday

Market has been closed since March 8 due to the COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. records 31 new cases, six deaths over three days due to COVID-19

There are 166 active cases in B.C., 16 people in hospital

96-year-old woman scales B.C. butte with help of family, friends

‘I did as I was told and I enjoyed every minute of it’

Parallel crises: How COVID-19 exacerbated B.C.’s drug overdose emergency

Part 1: Officials say isolation, toxic drug supply, CERB, contributing to crisis

Canadians with disabilities disproportionately hit by COVID-19 pandemic

More than four out of 10 British Columbians aged 70 and up have various disabilities

Camping offers a great pandemic escape, for less money than you might think

But for many first-timers, knowing what to bring can be a challenge

Turbulence in Canadian opinion on airlines COVID-19 response: poll

Thousands of people have beseeched Transport Minister Marc Garneau to compel airlines to issue refunds,

Most Read