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"Helping People, One Dog at a time."

From the family of Mr. Bruce Crighton who was a resident at Wheatland Lodge in Strathmore.

Janet and Nike, 

Thank you so much for your words and the pictures of Dad.  I’m very sorry we were unable to contact you prior to Dad’s celebration of life, as you and Nike both meant so much to him.  Even when he was in Emergency on Monday night, he was figuring out what day you would be coming and was sad that he wouldn’t be there to see you both.  Your friendship with our Dad may have only been a few months, but you both had a huge impact on him, and I can guarantee that you are the one thing that he would get out of his room for without fail! 


The opportunity to meet you in person was an honour for me (Dianne), I can’t even begin to tell you what a positive impact you have on people’s lives and your time and efforts with people such as my Dad make a difference in their lives and in their mental well being.  Nike may be a rescue dog, but she rescues people every day. 


You both were very special to my Dad and we all appreciate it. 


Alan, Don, Dianne and Cathy 

Family to the late Mr. Bruce Crighton 

From Rachael Lehmann, Child Development Advisor, Prairie Waters Elementary School.

Chestermere Therapy Dogs Society (CTDS) was created in 2014 from the heart and vision of an amazing individual, Steve King. He believes that animals, particularly dogs, can add tremendous value to our lives. From this vision, several programs have been developed. The one I would love to introduce you to is Listening Tails!

The Listening Tails program is designed to help children improve their reading skills and confidence by reading out loud to a therapy dog. Each student will read for 15 minutes once a week for six weeks. Prairie Waters Elementary School is so blessed to have two dogs (Shadow and Atlas) and two handlers (Tanya and Sheldon) once a week for an hour and a half. This allows for 10 students each week to participate in the program.

Listening Tails has been running strong at Prairie Waters Elementary School since the Spring of 2015. We have been lucky enough to provide this opportunity to approximately 75 students. The program’s success stems from the fact that dogs love the attention they receive when children read to them. Another key to the success of this program is that dogs are non-judgmental listeners. There isn’t an adult looking over their shoulders correcting them, and no added pressure of an audience of people.

Steve King quotes that “being a volunteer-driven organization, nothing could have happened without the dedication and commitment of the volunteers in Chestermere and surrounding areas who, from day one, have embraced the idea of help through therapy dogs. As an organization, CTDS understands that the dogs are the centre of attention, but nothing happens without the loving care of their dog handlers who give selflessly of themselves each time they attach the CTDS bandana around their dog’s neck.”

Our students absolutely love being chosen to participate in Listening Tails; which child gets to have a coveted spot on the list is one of the hardest decisions to make.  Every student who has participated in this program has nothing but positive things to say. Many students ask to partake regardless if they are an emerging reader. The connection our students feel towards the dog is magical.

Our school is a happier place when Shadow and Atlas are here. The dogs bring a positivity to the hallways that is difficult to describe. Prairie Waters is thrilled to have the Listening Tails program at our school and is so appreciative of the dedication and commitment that Tanya and Sheldon have for bringing the dogs once a week from September to June.

The Listening Tails program is truly a win-win situation. The students love the time they spend with the dog, the dog loves the one-on-one attention they receive from the student, and the handlers leave our school feeling they have made a difference in the lives of a child.

If you have any questions about this program, please do not hesitate to contact me or visit the Chestermere Therapy Dogs Society website at

From Jackie Miller RN, Quality Improvement Coordinator, Peter Lougheed Emergency Department.

I am the Quality Improvement Coordinator for the Peter Lougheed Emergency Department and I have been involved in many process improvement projects but one of the most rewarding for the frontline staff and for the patients that have had the opportunity to implement --the visit from Darci.


I had witnessed many times in the Emergency Department that when a therapy dog walked through the department that it was a positive domino effect, time seemed to stand still for a moment as the dog walked past the staff, a pause in the business, a quick smile by staff and then work would continue. The emergency setting is a 24 / 7 busy, loud, environment could we to create a moment, a pause, a reset button for the staff. Could we create a moment for our patients to escape from the worry, the unknown, and the stress. In August of 2018 we had the privilege of having Darci join our Emergency Team. The impact of her presence is unmeasurable, for all providers in ED and patients. All care providers are affected by Darci’s visits, Security greets her at the door and insists on escorting her to ED after they have their moment with her. EMS crews waiting to be triage take a moment to say their hellos and then she starts her rounds to the different care areas. Porters, housekeepers, Cardiology techs take a moment between the next patient or job.

I had a colleague share with me that after a long 12 hour shift she left the department and passed Darci in the hall, she then paused, “hold on a minute Darci I want to say high” she stated that it made her day and she felt so much better leaving work.

Staff recognize patients that would benefit a visit from Darci and will overhead page for Darci to come to a specific care space. Darci’s patient visits cross all ages and presentations from the pediatric patient with a fever, the elderly patient with dementia and the young adult with mental health concerns. The visits are not always long but the impact Darci has with staff and patients lasts long after she leaves.

From Ron Freckleton, Resident of Trinty Lodge Retirement Residence.

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to join Kim, our General Manager, for an informal meeting with a group of wonderful people from the Community Therapy Dogs Society. It was a delight for me to meet Steve King and his lovely wife Marilyn, Lynn Giesler and Sari Stanilof . Steve is the President of the Society. Lynn is the Seniors Homes Coordinator and Sari is one of approximately 100 dedicated owners of Therapy dogs. They are all members of the Society who, with their dogs, devote a large proportion of their lives, visiting Calgary and area senior residences, care centres, hospitals, hospices, libraries, and schools. Their mission in life is to bring joy into our world through the non-conditional love that dogs bring. After only seven years in existence, CTDS, a CRA registered charity, has a presence in sixty-three locations.

Here at Trinity Lodge, prior to Covid regulations, we were privileged to receive weekly visits from two of the Society’s teams. Amy McFee with her Audrey and Andrew Kucy, with Apollo, Hopefully the visits will be back on schedule soon.  Trinity is part of the Society’s “Visiting Tails” program. Another program, “Listening Tails” visits libraries and schools and the newest program “Caring Tails” visits hospitals and hospices.










The reason for the group’s visit was to present us with a basket full of fluffy, stuffed animals. After the pandemic started, CTDS brought forward a project to bring unexpected joy to Calgary and area seniors who have been impacted by Covid-19. To-date almost 100 seniors in various senior residences have received one of these most precious gifts.

On behalf of the grateful recipients, I offer many thanks to the members of CTDS for their kind, thoughtful gesture.  Thank you also for your gift of time and love that you and your dogs bring to Trinity Lodge and all the other institutions that you visit.



Audrey and her “Mom,” first visited Trinity on 16th September 2016. We will soon be celebrating five years of friendship. In those five years, Audrey and Amy have brought so much joy into our world. So many of our residents, excited to see Audrey come through our doors each Wednesday morning. Of course, the young lady makes a beeline for me, or rather, my right-side pants pocket. That is where I keep her bacon treats. I sometimes think she only loves me for my bacon. As soon as my treats bag is empty, she’s off to meet all of her other friends.  She always finds time to visit residents unable to leave their suites.

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