Happy Tails

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August 18, 2018

Charley is currently 12 years young. He was adopted a week before his first birthday from the Toronto Humane Society after he was found wandering the streets in the Don Mills area. THS had named him “Norm”, but our family just felt that Charley suited him better. Charley is our family’s first family dog and his adoption was the beginning of a wonderful adventure for all of us.

Charley is the grand master of our neighbourhood and everyone knows him - people and pups come out to meet and visit with him on each of his daily walks around the neighbourhood. Charley is a truly gentle soul with a very sweet, calm and affectionate nature who was born to be a therapy dog. He has a constant smile and a welcoming, laid-back spirit. He loves to be with people and visits with everyone in the park and is known to be quite the leaner while he is being pet! It is because of his lovely temperament that Charley has joined the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program.

Charley loves his therapy dog work and has been a part of the SJA Therapy Dog program since 2013. Besides his regular weekly duties visiting his Senior friends at The Millwood, Charley is also a Child Friendly/Special Needs Therapy Dog. When he sees his special collar and SJA bandana come out, Charley heads to the front door, ready to go out and visit with his friends.

In addition to these duties, Charley has been volunteering weekly at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in their Pet Visiting program for 9 years. Due to his gentle and loving manner, Charley was selected to participate in a pilot Behaviour Therapy Project called “Facing Your Fears” addressing anxiety in children around dogs. In 2016, Charley was recognized by the province of Ontario with an Ontario Volunteer Service Award for his years of dedicated service at Holland Bloorview.

Charley was actively involved in the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games and was featured in the Runner’s World Magazine for his therapy dog work in the Athlete’s Village. In September 2017, he visited at the athlete’s hotel during the Invictus Games. For the past 2 years, Charley has taken on the most important role of all which is sharing his wonderful energy with his younger brother Buddy and guiding him as he starts his work as a therapy dog. Our magnificent Charley was born a dog but has lived life as a gentleman!

When we adopted Charley, we did so thinking that we were changing his life…however, the impact he has had on countless people has been profound. Charley is a true testament to how wonderful shelter dogs can be and that they should not be overlooked when searching for a family pet. ​