Piper - Courtenay Therapy Dog

Recently I had the pleasure of photographing Piper - a cute Bernese Mountain Dog cross owned by Jan Higham. Piper isn't just an ordinary house pet. He has a job to do! And his job is with the St. John's Ambulance Therapy Dog Program here in the Comox Valley. 

Part of Piper's job is to visit seniors' homes in the community and provide comfort and joy to those in need. Jan explained that it is very rewarding to see dementia patients brighten up when Piper visits, presumably stimulating memories from when they had pets of their own. 

According to the St. John's Ambulance website, www.sja.ca, "the Therapy Dog Program yields many benefits. Studies have shown that holding or petting an animal helps lower blood pressure, release strains and tension, as well as ease feelings of loneliness and depression. A dog can give comfort that sometimes no words can offer. They provide more than just a warm furry body; many dogs instinctively understand when some needs comfort and offer it unconditionally - without judgment and without obligation". 

And of course Piper is just half of this team. Jan has trained Piper from puppyhood to be the easy-going, lovable dog that he is. Not only does Jan volunteer with St. John's Ambulance, she also helps out at the Comox Valley SPCA (in addition to holding down a full-time job!).  Thanks for all you do, Jan!

Do you have a dog with a job? Time to celebrate them with a pet portrait! Contact me for availability.