Murphy is no stranger to SHA facilities in Saskatoon. The eight-year-old English springer spaniel and his handler, Jane Smith, were once regulars at health-care sites in the city. Their weekly visits were even immortalized in a book, Murphy Mondays (funded by a HUG Grant through the Royal University
Murphy is one of many SJA therapy dogs moving their care visits online in light of COVID-19.
As a St. John Ambulance (SJA) therapy dog, Murphy is able to provide comfort and reduce stress and anxiety—with patients and health-care workers alike. However, that all changed with COVID-19. With visitor restrictions in place to protect against the pandemic’s spread, Murphy had to move his meetings to a digital platform, much like the rest of the world.
“We are excited to be doing this online, because we miss the visits, especially this guy!” said Smith in a
YouTube update where she and Murphy read Murphy Mondays.
Murphy is one of many SJA therapy dogs in the PAWS Your Stress program, led by Colleen Dell at the University of Saskatchewan. As part of this initiative, the therapy dogs are participating in Facebook Live sessions until the end of July, to provide a mental break to those who need it while still abiding by physical distancing parameters. Many are also posting therapy visits to their
YouTube channel and
therapy dogs website to catch a glimpse of the dogs in their (temporary) virtual home.