Image of a child standing with a dog and smiling

PHOTOGRAPHY BY EMMA PERRY

3 amazing ways animals are helping people in the GTA

These stories will make you feel warm and fuzzy about the special animal companions in our community

Many studies have confirmed what we know in our hearts—that our furry, feathered and scaly friends keep us calm, lower our blood pressure, and help ease anxiety and depression. And that’s just what companion animals achieve. Service animals do even more to support their humans, in many cases making the tasks of daily living not just possible but also joyful.

And since no one can resist a feel-good animal story (admit it, you cry every time you see one of those dog-and-owner reunion videos!), we’ve rounded up three amazing animal tales to share.

First, take a look inside the lives of therapy animals who reside and work in long-term care homes. A whole menagerie—from dogs to cats to birds—help residents by distracting them from chronic pain, offering companionship and evoking fond memories of their earlier lives and childhood pets.

Next, meet Harris, the handsome golden retriever who helps his human buddy, Atlas, conquer the daily challenges of living with autism spectrum disorder. After six years together, they’re an inseparable, unstoppable team.

Finally, check out the groundbreaking work that the SafePet program is doing for families. Many women experiencing domestic violence are reluctant to flee an abusive partner if they have to leave their beloved pet behind. SafePet is making sure that these animals have a safe haven while their human companions are in transition, and that a happy reunion is possible down the road.

Bonus: Think your pet deserves a medal—or at least a Miss Congeniality sash? Check out the pet beauty contest idea in our best workplace fund-raisers story. Maybe your sweet cat, dog, ferret or goldfish can help you support a cause that’s close to your heart.

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