Pet therapy is a guided interaction between a person and a trained animal, these interactions include the animal’s handler/owner. Pet owners know how much enjoyment they get from their pets, through pet therapy they have an opportunity to share that enjoyment and, the many benefits, with people who cannot have a pet. Pet visitation consists of unstructured visits in a variety of locations. We make regular visits to the Alberta Health Services Programs and Facilities (Hospital, Bridges Program, Recovery Centre), Rotary House, Fort McMurray International Airport, Keyano College, and schools to name a few. We are always exploring other visitation opportunities.
Pet therapy began in Fort McMurray in 1989 when two residents and their dogs began visiting seniors in Auraubasca House and the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre. The group grew to 10 members and by 2002, as more and more people and pets wanted to become involved in pet therapy, and more facilities were interested in having visits, the need for a local training program was recognized.
Pets And Wellness in Fort McMurray (PAWS FM) was the result.The first course was held in 2002. In 2010 they joined with Canadian Mental Health,created a new logo and a modified the name: PAWS for People. In the fall of 2019 PAWS for People separated from Canadian Mental Health and became its own society.