Doreen & Rufus
Rufus is a three-year-old Saint Bernard from London, Ontario and an Ottawa Therapy Dog since March 2016. He is my second therapy dog.
Brutus was my first therapy dog - also a Saint Bernard - who worked his magic for five and a half years as an Ottawa Therapy Dog. He was so special and loved everyone. We shared many great times with special needs children through the City of Ottawa's SPIRIT program for medically fragile children; with seniors in the Madonna Care Community including the Alzheimer/dementia ward and the palliative care unit; and with children who were struggling with their reading as part of the Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) program through visits to the Ottawa Public Library (to name just a few!). He was also one of the first Ottawa Therapy Dogs to be hugged and loved by students at Carleton University during exam times. Sadly, Brutus passed away unexpectedly in May 2013. Shortly afterwards, the long search for a new therapy 'Saint' started.
Now Rufus visits with teenagers who are battling depression and anxiety through CHEO's off-site program at Centre Ado du Millennium. He loves being with the girls where he gets lots of love and hugs. After only nine months, the results are awesome with improved attendance, fewer bouts of severe depression/anxiety and lots more smiles! When arriving at the Madonna Care Community, the same long-term care facility in Orleans where Brutus used to visit, it is very therapeutic for me to see the smiles and happy eyes of the residents brighten at the sight of Rufus.
Rufus loves children and we are hoping to pass the next R.E.A.D. assessment. He gives great hugs!
Every week, Doreen and Rufus visit Centre Ado du Millennium to help teens struggling with depression and anxiety.