Community Therapy Dogs Society (CTDS)
After CTDS became a Registered Society in the province of Alberta in December 2013, the first program began in March 2014 at the Chestermere Public Library. At that time there was just one program (Listening Tails) which helps children improve their confidence in reading out loud. Within a few months, schools saw the benefits of having therapy dogs in the classroom to help the students and so began the expansion of Listening Tails into the academic world. The first school to take the program was East Lake School in Chestermere in November 2014.
Soon after launching Listening Tails, a second program (Visiting Tails) was created whereby our therapy dogs visit seniors’ homes to brighten their day and hospitals to bring comfort to those in need, whether patients, families of patients or staff. Seniors visits began in 2014 at Prince of Peace in Rocky View County. It wasn’t until 2018 that the hospital visits began, starting at the Peter Lougheed Centre in N.E. Calgary.
It became very apparent to CTDS that people, both young and old, were having to deal with ever more stress in their lives so, in 2015, we created a third program, Caring Tails. Designed to help people de-stress through access to therapy dogs, this program has proved very popular in the school environment, whether through regular visits or one-off events.
Since 2014 CTDS has seen significant growth both in terms of geography as well as the number of people whose lives have been touched by our therapy dogs. In 2015 CTDS established a formal Agreement with Rocky View Trustees which enabled any school in the Rocky View School District to participate in the Listening and Caring Tails programs.
A significant milestone was reached in early 2015 when CTDS became recognized as a Registered Charity (#81093 3770 RR0001) by the Canada Revenue Agency.
By the end of 2019 CTDS has programs in 43 schools, 13 seniors’ homes, 4 hospitals, 2 libraries and 1 hospice. To provide this level of service, CTDS has over 100 volunteers and close to 100 dogs helping the community.