Burke the Therapy Dog visiting a Vancouver Office (Photo by St.John Ambulance Service)

The St.John Ambulance in-person therapy dog visits are returning to Prince George after being canceled for the past year.

Before the pandemic, the non-profit’s four-legged volunteers would visit facilities such as schools, hospitals, and offices on a weekly basis to provide workers with a stress-free joyful work break.

Erin Boekhovan with the St.John Ambulance Service says the 20-30 groups of volunteers in Prince George are getting their dogs prepared for the in-person visits.

“We find that workplaces and employees that have the chance to interact with our team just really reminds them to take a break and a breather in their day and gives them an opportunity to re-center. We often hear that it causes anxiety and daily stresses to just decrease,” said Boekhovan.

The visits last about one hour and the handler will take their therapy dog around the building and give workers the chance to take a short break to play with the pup.

Boekhavan says in-person visits can really help boost office morale, and benefit the mental health of workers while giving their therapy dogs love and attention.

The non-profit is kicking off the return with ‘Work Like a Dog Day’ on August 5th, as therapy dogs across BC and in the Yukon will get back into workplaces.

“It’s (Work Like a Dog Day) is a holiday meant to celebrate going above and beyond in the workplace, for that the employee that’s sort of first in and last out, we just thought it was such a natural fit for our program since our dogs are the most hardworking coworkers that we know,” she added.

Keltie the Therapy Dog working in Nanaimo (Photo by St.John Ambulance Service)

Residents can book a visit during Work Like a Dog Day online until 5:30 on Friday, which requires a $100 donation.

Once booked, participants will then receive an email asking them to pick a time for the visit between 9 am and 5 pm on August 5th.

Participants can also register to book 20-minute virtual visits before Friday afternoon, which requires a $30 donation to the non-profit.