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Therapy dog visits Timmins Police Service to spread some cheer

Many believe a sweet, cuddly dog has the power to turn just about anyone's day around.

Take ' Takoda' for example – he's one of the many canines participating in the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program and he's on a special assignment at the Timmins Police Service, one of many community partners.

“Right now we visit every day of the week except Friday. We do all the nursing homes except Extendicare," said Wendy Lemieux, coordinator the program for the Timmins area.

Police officials said the timing of the visit is perfect as 'Police Week' is wrapping up.

“It does allow for this group to interact with the Timmins Police Service and it allows for our officers to take a brief respite out of their busy days to socialize with an animal," said Marc Depatie, the police service's communications coordinator.

"There’s no downside that we can see and it does go very well with our mental health initiatives and strategies."

Lemieux said the Therapy Dog Program is just getting back on its feet following the last few years of pandemic restrictions and handlers said they're looking forward to visiting more organizations.

“When you walk into a facility and you go by someone’s room, they may not be able to speak to you, but when they see the dog, they just light up and motion c’mon in and we have a visit and we go to the next room," said Shelley Deslauriers, one of the therapy dog handler.

"It’s just a really good feeling seeing them happy and then they talk about it for hours."

Takoda made sure no one was left without a lick at the police station.

“It’s nice to have something positive and I don’t have a dog at home so it’s nice to be able to share a little bit of cuddle time and a bit of dog time here," said Constable Caroline Rouillard.

Lemieux said to contact the St. John Ambulance office to reserve time with one of the therapy dogs; or if you think you've got a calm and caring canine that would make a good therapy dog.

Officials with the organization want the public to keep in mind there is a waiting list.

For more information on St. John Ambulance programs in the Timmins area, visit their Facebook page Top Stories

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