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 on deployment to Kamloops

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 12, 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.

 

Just Posted

Shaving minutes off commutes among the goals for Victoria bus lanes

Work on southbound Douglas Street lane between Tolmie and Hillside getting underway

VicPD nab distracted driver with expired licence

On the phone while in motion, man had overdue fines from driving while impaired

Cooking with ‘Killer’

Reporter Dawn Gibson shares some of her favourite meals to make

Vic-Alert faces tidal wave of registration after tsunami warnings

City of Victoria system is free and provides early warnings of disaster

Tsunami warning after earthquake rattles Saanich residents

Scenes straight out of a disaster movie unfolded across Saanich Tuesday morning… Continue reading

WATCH: Greater Victoria residents gather at higher ground during tsunami warning

Ocean Boulevard and the Esquimalt Lagoon reopened shortly before 5 a.m. Tuesday

Castlegar homicide victim identified

The victim was 38-year-old Jordan Workman of Castlegar, B.C.

B.C. Liberal leadership candidates get one last prime-time pitch

Leadership campaign to be decided in Feb. 3 vote

How high is safe from a tsunami? Four metres above sea level

Be disaster ready with food, water and clothing for seven days

Victoria Film Festival set for triumphant return to the big screen

Two decades on, diverse film lineups keep movie-goers coming to the box office

Touring art from war-torn Syria on display at Cedar Hill

Behind the Lines: Contemporary Syrian Art, Jan. 24 to Feb. 5 at Cedar Hill Arts Centre

Andrew Scheer on trade, Trump and Trudeau

Canada’s Conservative leader begins three-day visit to B.C.

Victoria’s most wanted for the week of Jan. 23

Crime Stoppers will pay a reward of up to $2,000 for information that leads to arrests or the seizure of property or drug

Victims restrained, sex toys and cash stolen from B.C. adult store

Armed suspects sought in adult store robbery

Most Read