Okanagan seniors experience puppy love

Missionwood Retirement Resort residents had a special Valentine’s Day

Residents of a retirement home in Kelowna had a lively Friday afternoon.

Volunteer handlers and therapy dogs from UBCO’s B.A.R.K. program visited Missionwood Retirement Resort for the first time.

Building Academic Retention through K9s (B.A.R.K.) brings trained therapy dogs to university students in an effort to reduce stress, homesickness, as well as to foster interpersonal connections. The program promotes the overall social and emotional well-being of students.

But this time, they wanted to bring the smiles to another generation.

The program’s director Dr. John Tyler-Binfet said going to university is a bit like being in a retirement centre, which is why he wanted to bring the dogs to Missionwood.

“It can be a bit crowded and a bit impersonal, people comment on the food,” he laughed.

“But to me, it just makes a lot of sense. We have a high rate of loneliness in both settings on campus and in a setting like this. I think it’s just a progressive way to see our students in a different environment and to see our dogs working and doing in a different context outside of UBC.”

Tyler-Binfet added based on the Valentine’s Day success, he imagines they’ll be back at the home.

Geri Eakins has been a volunteer handler since B.A.R.K.’s inception and she said the afternoon was special.

“It’s been amazing today. I can see the smiles and energy and how people just seem to come alive and just telling the stories of when they had their dogs, the particular dogs they had,” she said.

“It’s just amazing to see the energy in here and the aliveness.”

READ MORE: Caring canines wanted: Salmon Arm therapy dog program seeks new recruits

READ MORE: Therapy dog retires from B.C. university


Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
Email me at twila.amato@blackpress.ca
Follow me on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Snow continuing in Revelstoke

Roughly five cm expected

Columbia Basin Trust seeking public feedback for new management plan

There will be a community meeting in Revelstoke in May

Racist incidents on the rise in the Okanagan as coronavirus spreads

UBC professor not surprised by recent incidents

Ministry proposing dust control plan for Westside Rd.

Dust from industrial operations in the area is a concern

Neskonlith chief lays blame for ongoing protests at feet of Justin Trudeau

Secwepemc leader hopes others will follow CP’s lead in asking prime minister to talk to Wet’suwet’en

Greater Vernon senior cycling program wheels into second year

Special ‘trishaws’ saw 500 rides and 4,200 kilometres in debut year

Human rights complaint against Shuswap grocer dismissed

Former Food Network competitor was scheduled to work on her Sabbath

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

COLUMN: Forestry no longer close to top of B.C.’s economy

Our reactions to a forestry downturn reflect the past, not the present

Caught on camera: Police release video of man who allegedly stole seaplane in Vancouver

Police say the man broke into the Harbour Air terminal and then got into one of the seaplanes in the harbour

51 health professionals send letter to Trudeau, Horgan panning northern B.C. pipeline

They point to studies about the health and climate change risks from pipeline

UPDATE: Firefighter injured in West Kelowna structure fire

West Kelowna fire crews responded to the blaze at 9:53 p.m. Tuesday

Most Read