Regina, Saskatchewan, November 24, 2016: Local REALTORS® had the opportunity to get paws-on at the University of Regina this past Tuesday, and see just how St. John Ambulance is making the most of a $5,000 grant they received to support their Therapy Dog Program. Each year, the Association of Saskatchewan REALTORS® (ASR) Quality of Life Legacy Fund provides grants to charitable organizations who are working to improve the quality of lives of those in our communities – and the Therapy Dog Program is doing just that!

Therapy dogs and their volunteer handlers provide comfort, companionship and joy to people throughout Saskatchewan, working in a variety of settings, including airports, schools, senior homes and more. Says Ashley Balysky, Director of Community Services with St. John Ambulance, “People walk in – they may be feeling stress, or upset about something that’s happening in their lives, and they leave with a different outlook. They’re happier – the dogs boost their morale!”

As students arrived, some staying only a few minutes to get in a few pats, others remaining for the full two hours to enjoy the companionship of the furry friends, the one constant was the smile on everyone’s face at the sight of the pooches. Says Margie Lynch, St. John Ambulance volunteer handler and Regina REALTOR®, “Some of these kids are away from home for the first time. They may have a pet they’re missing. Having a few minutes with the dogs is comforting to them, and may take away some of the home sickness.”

“We love that St. John Ambulance has taken up this project,” adds Bill Madder, CEO of the ASR “It’s a unique way to improve quality of life – and that’s the goal of our legacy fund. The therapy dogs provide a reminder that even the simplest of things can make a big difference in someone’s life.”

The Quality of Life Legacy initiative awards grants to six community organizations from different regions of the province on an annual basis. The Legacy Grant Program will begin accepting applications once again in January 2017. More information can be found at saskatchewanrealestate.com/quality-of-life/legacy. Any charitable organization in Saskatchewan supporting the Quality of Life’s principles is encouraged to apply.

If you would like to learn more about the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program, or find out how to volunteer, contact Ashley Balysky at 306.522.7226 ext.231 or visit sja.ca.

Left to right: REALTOR® Wanda Smith, REALTOR® and St. John Ambulance Volunteer Margie Lynch, Scottish Terrier Taffy, Association of Regina REALTORS® CEO Gord Archibald, REALTOR® Lane Bogehean, REALTOR® Ian Johnston and St. John Ambulance Director of Community Services Ashley Balysky