Windsor Police launches therapy dog program for employees

Windsor Police Service News Update
July 5, 2023

Windsor Police launches therapy dog program for employees 

The Windsor Police Service is partnering with the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program to support the mental health and wellbeing of our members.

Through this partnership, St. John Ambulance volunteers and their therapy dogs will visit Windsor Police facilities regularly to interact with our members. The therapy dogs are trained to offer affection and comfort to people in high-stress situations. Their presence has been proven to boost morale, provide calm and comfort, and reduce anxiety, depression, and loneliness.

The visits are anticipated to begin at the end of July and will occur on a biweekly basis. Arrangements will be made to accommodate members with allergies, phobias, and other aversions to animals.

St. John Ambulance’s Therapy Dog Program provides therapy teams to first responder agencies, retirement, nursing and long-term care residences, hospitals, schools, and businesses across Canada. The program boasts more than 3,500 volunteer dog teams, who donate over 275,000 hours of their time annually. Locally, in 2022, even with Covid protocols still in place for almost seven months, Windsor-Essex Therapy Dog teams logged over 350 visits in over 25 facilities, totaling 2,500 volunteer hours.  


“We are excited to partner with St. John Ambulance and to enhance our ability to proactively support the mental health and wellbeing of our members. We hope that regular time with these therapy dogs will have a positive impact on our members and help to alleviate some of the stress and anxiety they experience on any given day.” 

- Chief Jason Bellaire, Windsor Police Service

“I am thrilled that the partnership with the Windsor Police Service is coming to fruition and that we will soon have teams supporting the brave and dedicated officers. It is a recognized fact that time with a Therapy Dog provides numerous benefits to those experiencing stress, anxiety, or pain. I know the pressures and demands on the officers continues to grow. SJA’s Motto is ‘We are There to Care.’ and if our teams can support those doing this difficult job, even just for the short time that we are together, then our partnership will be a complete success.”

- Lesley Smith, St. John Ambulance Unit Chief, St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Unit 1202 

"Happiness is the highest form of health. I can personally attest that a dog's unconditional affection and unwavering love and devotion provide comfort and kindness that is often missing in a high-stress work environment. I support the Chief's initiative by partnering with St John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program to support our members' mental health and wellbeing. This is a kind gesture to recognize the stressful work environment our members work in every day. My hope is this is only an initial step in improving mental health and wellbeing throughout the police service. I look forward to more broader and successful initiatives being implemented in the coming months."

- Kent Rice, Pre​sident, Windsor Police Association
For further information:
Contact the WPS Corporate Communication Unit's Public Information Officer at (519) 255-6700 ext. 4462.

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