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    Beaumont has been trained as a therapy dog, the only one in Petawawa and Pembroke certified to offer therapy services to children under 12. (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

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    Beaumont is a very special Newfoundland dog. As a therapy dog, he brings comfort and joy to everybody. He and his owner Jeanette Carter (in red) were invited to the Petawawa Public Library to visit with kids and adults taking part in a special Ontario SPCA Cupcake Day-themed reading hour. (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)


 

 


Therapy dog Beaumont meets with kids at the library

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday March 14, 2019


Some may be put off by Beaumont’s size, but one look into his calm dark eyes lays to rest any misgivings.

The Landseer Newfoundland dog could easily be described as a hug on four legs, bringing comfort and joy to all around him.

So it isn’t a surprise that his owners have him registered as a St. John Ambulance Therapy dog, trained to help those going through a difficult time find peace.

“We love the program,” said owner Jeanette Carter. “We love what it represents and what we get to do in the community.”

For the past two years, Beaumont can be found in retirement homes, health care facilities, at Algonquin College in the Ottawa Valley and around Garrison Petawawa, a favourite place for former military member Carter who readily offers Beaumont up to comfort and help heal wounded veterans.

“It is just the love that he projects when he is there,” said Carter, adding she has seen military members break down while clutching his fur, finding catharsis in his lack of judgement and unconditional affection.

His soothing manner is part of his charm and Beaumont always behaves in a tender manner, regardless of who approaches him.

“People love animals and they love dogs,” said Carter. “And dogs are dogs. They don’t judge. They just love and you see that with people when they interact with him.”

The pup is also the only therapy dog registered to work with children under 12 in the immediate area.

Because of this, Beaumont was invited to the Petawawa Public Library on Feb. 20 during cupcake-themed reading time, an event inspired by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (Ontario SPCA) ongoing cupcake fundraiser.

Though the kids – and accompanying adults - couldn’t feed him any treats, they still had a blast playing with and petting the behemoth of a dog.

“It is times like this that make it all worthwhile,” said Carter. “I just love seeing the faces of kids when they realize that they can get up and pet him. They are just amazed by him.”

The partnership between the library, the Ontario SPCA Renfrew County Animal Centre and the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog program is one that came naturally.

“I think it is cool partnering up with other organizations,” said Michelle Ibbotson, Outreach Technician with the library.

“The library is all about information and being a safe space for everybody. If we can utilize other groups to move forward that is great.”

In addition to having the cupcake-themed reading hour, the library has also been selling themed bookmarks with proceeds going to the local Ontario SPCA.

“I really do love the SPCA,” said Ibbotson. “They are so friendly and so fun.”

The St. John Ambulance Therapy Dogs Renfrew County program is in need of more dogs and is currently inviting people to apply and become volunteers. More information can be found on their Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/stjohnambulancetherapydogsrenfrewcounty/

The Therapy Dog program, which started in Peterborough in 1992, is unique to St. John Ambulance Canada and is delivered by Therapy Dog teams who give tens of thousands of hours of their time visiting hospitals, retirement residences, care facilities, and schools.