Sudbury News: Pet therapy dog ​​brings smiles to vulnerable people in town

The Samaritan Center drop-in center in Sudbury is a place that offers several support services to the vulnerable and homeless population.

The workers hope to introduce a new program: pet therapy.

At the moment, a puppy is visiting to see if he is suitable for this type of training.

Monique Gregorie works with clients at the drop-in centre. She brings her three-month-old Cane Corso mix named Rocky to interact with customers as she plans to enroll him in pet therapy training.

“A lot of our customers are having a bad day,” said Monique Gregorie, customer navigator at the Samaritan Center.

“They come in, they spend a minute with Rocky and it cheers them up.”

Clients tell us they enjoy and appreciate their time with Rocky.

“He’s a stress buster, absolutely,” said client Shelly Sabean.

“I didn’t want to let him go because he’s heartwarming and all that and I’m grateful to him for that.”

A woman who is currently homeless said visiting Rocky brings her joy.

“I’m on the street and he’s just a carefree dog and he’s lifting me up,” Kathleen Houle said.

A young man told us that he thought dogs could sense people’s emotions.

“I felt good. Made me forget the emotions, the sad emotions and the mental issues and my addictions,” Silas King said.

Center workers said they noticed positive differences when customers interacted with Rocky.

“A lot of them are going through mental health issues (challenges), a lot of issues in their lives where they can come here and enjoy their inner child with him a little bit,” said addiction and health worker Tiffany Dellaire. mental.

Another worker said the puppy brings joy.

“Come in, relax, enjoy yourself, let go of their anxiety and if they’re in a bad (mood) they’ll end up being happy with Rocky,” said Jolie Gregoire, a customer navigator at the Drop In Center.

Workers said that during Rocky’s two visits so far, they’ve noticed a big boost in customers’ self-esteem because animals don’t judge.

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