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

Armada boys drop first game of AAA North Island basketball championships

Alberni faces No. 1 seed Mark Isfeld in Saturday, Feb. 17 morning game

Alberni Armada senior girls play for Island bronze

Girls drop game to SMU, still have a shot at provincial basketball berth

Armada senior girls win first contest at AA Island championships

Hoops team faces SMU in game this evening at Mark Isfeld in Courtenay

Pension delays unacceptable, Courtenay-Alberni MP says

Some retiring vets, RCMP wait ‘months, years’

Valentine’s Day a busy one for Alberni RCMP

Cops deal with 39 calls in one shift, including numerous thefts from vehicles

North Island College opens its doors to Alberni, west coast students

More than 200 Grade 11 students check out programs offered at Alberni campus

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Canucks came out hot, beat Bruins 6-1

Loui Eriksson scores twice, catapulting Vancouver to a lopsided victory over Boston

B.C. man brings dog to court as ‘best witness’

Man is defending himself on charges of uttering threats, possessing weapon for dangerous purposes

Vancouver Island job market ever-evolving

Various sectors driving employment in region will be represented at Black Press career fair in Comox Feb. 8

Vancouver artist’s cartoon of Florida school shooting resonates

Cartoon shows football coach, one of the victims, meeting others killed in school shootings

Trudeau family arrives in India for state visit

Seven-day visit includes meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Military seeks DNA experts to help ID missing war dead

Federal program recovers, identifies and arranges burials for Canada’s nearly 28,000 missing war dead

B.C. files new legal action against TransMountain pipeline

Province tries to uphold City of Burnaby bylaws, provoking Alberta

Most Read