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

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Caps’ Pochipinski locks up scholarship

Forward bound for Colorado College

Duncan man gets jail time for beating puppy to death

Robert Carolan is also banned from owning animals for a decade

Column: Keeping animals off roads is no simple task

Where I originally come from, it’s moose, which can weigh twice as much as an elk

VIDEO: Sweetheart Dance packs the Lake Cowichan 50+ Centre

Seniors team up with Cowichan Women Against Violence for a Valentine’s Day fundraising dance

Coming up in Cowichan: Irrigation; Palestinian children; fun with fungi

The Cowichan Watershed Board is presenting a free efficient irrigation workshop

Canadians find living in small spaces teaches creativity

Canadian families choosing to live in small spaces to bring closeness to children

Emergency crews rescue pregnant woman after fall on mountain near Victoria

Roughly four-hour-long rescue includes firefighters from two departments

SAR suspends search for missing man at Sun Peaks

RCMP will continue to search for a missing man near Kamloops but SAR has suspended their role

Lottery will help save children’s lives

Each ticket gets you a chance to win a lot of money, while helping a lot of kids

B.C. RCMP officer officially cleared in car wash shooting incident

A report found the Salmon Arm officer fired 14 bullets at the man’s truck

Wounded Warrior Run stops in Port McNeill

For Jacqueline Zweng, the Wounded Warrior Run is a personal matter.

Interest in Canadian Armed Forces remains high

Canada seeks about 5,000 recruits each year for its regular forces of about 68,000

Most Read