Tamitu* exhibited a particularly calm, outgoing temperament. By the time she was 7 months old, I recognized that she was an ideal candidate for certified therapy dog service.
To this end I contacted Ms. Judy Sauvé, founder and director of Team Leaders. Five months later Ms. Sauvé and Ms. Murray Stoof (Director of Evaluators) arrived in Gibsons to certify the first TPOC group west of Ontario. Ms. Sauvé proudly said her vision for TPOC was fulfilled - it was now Coast to Coast.
*Tamitu (Tammy-2 as Tamu the Second is affectionately known.)
Whilst here on the Sunshine Coast our TPOC efforts have been focussed on seniors' residential visits, Tamitu has been a star at school and university! The effectiveness of dog therapy is increasingly recognized in schools - check out TPOC Paws to Read - and more recently with post-graduate level students under the stress of writing papers and facing oral and written examinations. .
Key to this venture was the co-operation and encouragement of Christensen Village Recreation Director, Bruce Deveroux, who works with us and provides the centre for the Sunshine Coast evaluation and certification programmes. . .
The benefits of the program run far and deep as successful dog/handler teams regularly connect with the residents at seniors' facilities here on the Sunshine Coast. And the benefit is not only for the seniors. How rewarding it is for the handler to see a weary face light up at the sight of a gentle dog.
All sizes and breeds of dogs are welcome to the program - it's the temperament and the handler's ability that determines participation. Tamitu, being a small dog (about 10 pounds) is welcomed up onto resident's laps. There she sits for her silken coat to be stroked and tickled and 'boredom' turns to delight in a few moments.