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

Spectators asked to be on best behaviour at Shuswap school sporting events

Policy asks that spectators make positive comments remain silent

Word on the street: What is your favourite pie-related memory?

With the 24th-annual Best of the Shuswap Pie Baking Contest taking place… Continue reading

Fiery collision involving truck closes Highway 1 at Three Valley Gap

Drivers should expect major delays and congestion; estimated time of re-opening is 2 p.m.

Rezoning to accommodate Ashley Furniture store highlights traffic concerns

Developer would like covenant requiring traffic study to exclude furniture store site

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Kelowna Firefighters douse suspicious hedge fire

A 30’ section of cedar hedge burned prompting an RCMP investigation.

Kelowna RCMP make arrest in fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Elijah Beauregard

An 18-year-old woman is in police custody facing a manslughter charge.

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

B.C. money laundering inquiry to begin amid hopes for answers, accountability

Eby argued that most B.C. residents already know the previous government, at best, turned a blind eye

Blockades remain in place as Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs returning to B.C.

Hereditary Chief Woos said they are ready to engage in nation-to-nation talks with the B.C.

Dale family was prominent in Summerland’s past

Ruth Dale taught for many years

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Most Read