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Meg Archer and Molly - Nominated By St. John Ambulance

ciaMegMolly9 years ago, while grocery shopping at Safeway, Meg Archer noticed a St. John Ambulance poster looking for Therapy Dog volunteers.  Looking for a way to give back to her community and believing her dog Molly would be perfect for Therapy Dog, she contacted St. John Ambulance.  After a handler only orientation and then evaluation of herself and Molly, they qualified to be part of the program and the duo started volunteering. The program varies across Canada, based on community need and the availability of volunteers. Therapy Dogs and their handlers with St. John Ambulance in our area normally offer comfort and companionship to the sick, lonely and those in need of a friendly visit at senior residences and care home facilities.

Starting out visiting an elderly gentlemen in his private residence, Meg and Molly are now regular visitors to the Grande Prairie Care Centre, located in Downtown Grande Prairie.  Meg and her long haired dachshund are the only team able to go through the centre’s dementia ward because of Molly’s size and calm nature, and Meg’s kind-heartedness. On a recent visit to the facility GPVSB was allowed to accompany the pair. It was quickly evident that the two were very welcomed by the residents as Molly and Meg quietly started visiting.  Eyes would light up and spirits lift as Meg greeted each resident by name asking if they would like to pet and hold Molly then she warmly chatted and listened to their stories as Molly calmly sat in their lap being petted. Even those who showed no interest in seeing Molly would receive a friendly hello from Meg. The team would then leave the lobby area after visiting everyone there and travel down the hallways silently checking rooms to make sure they did not miss anyone.  As they complete their visit Meg is smiling; proud of her special girl Molly and the great work they do together sharing the bond between human and pet, giving comfort and showing those in need they are cared for and not alone.  The 14 year old Molly also appears happy after the visit having received lots of love and attention from the Care Centre residents.  Meg hopes to visit the Care Centre more often in the future and eventually train a new partner when the time comes to continue the good work she and Molly currently do.

Molly with GP Care Centre Resident Frank Stoll

St. John Ambulance Community Service Coordinator Jody Peakman has high praise for the twosome, she nominated for “Caught in the Act” referring to them as “Dog Therapy Legends”, and she uses them as an examples when mentoring new teams joining the program.  Jody states “Meg and Molly are hands down the kindest, sweetest, most gentle volunteers we have, and their dedication to volunteering has made a difference in many people’s lives.”  We at the Grande Prairie Volunteer Services Bureau would like to thank Meg and Molly for being ‘Caught in the Act’ of volunteering and for all their terrific work helping others. For more information on St. Johns Ambulance’s Pet Therapy program click here.



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