Meet Newton, one of our Accredited Facility Dogs. Newton was raised and trained in the Lower Main Land and place with his client Melissa over 10 years ago! Together they now work at the Dr. Peter Centre which provides comfort Care for people living with HIV. Keep reading to learn more about their partnership through Melissa’s eyes and to read a testimonial of one of Newton’s Clients!
“Newton and I were matched together in the summer of 2010. I have been working as a Recreation Therapist for nearly 30 years, having Newton become my partner as a Canine Assistant Intervention dog, has been the best decision I have made for my career and my family that includes two other dogs, numerous cats and three kids. Our first job together was working with seniors at a care center, he was deeply loved by many of the seniors. There was one woman with whom he would have a daily nap at the end of her bed. He helped many people reminisce about their own dogs and sweet memories.
We have been at the Dr Peter AIDS Foundation for almost ten years. Newton makes everyone feel comfortable when they come through the door, wagging his tail and giving a goofy grin. He provides our clients with unconditional dog love. He goes in for pets and snuggles and makes people feel comfortable while they are talking about their health issues with our Nurses or Counsellors, sits with people while they are on the computer checking emails or likes to just sleep at their feet while they sit on the patio chatting with friends.
Our clients tell me that he doesn’t judge them. They have said that he makes the centre feel like a home, that he makes them feel comfortable and loved regardless of their life situation, he boosts their mood.”
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Newton is the best thing about the Dr. Peter Centre and that’s saying a lot because there are so many good things to say about the place. Melissa and Newton manage to infiltrates almost every service and program offered to participants.
I had a hard time adjusting to my move and loss of friends when I first met newton and it seemed like it was easier to talk to Melissa when I was petting the dog as he seemed familiar and reminded me of my old dog I had once. Slowly, as my confidence built, I found myself on Out Trips with Melissa and Newton and I remember vividly when we went to the Lynn Canyon Suspension bridge. Having a morbid fear of heights, I could only cross the bridge holding Melissa’s hand.
I am so accustomed to having Newton around for part of the week, that when he’s not with me, I have gone out into my neighborhood and introduce myself to dogs and their owners as a way to keep up the animal contract up. During parts of my day when the physical and emotional pain build up to intolerable levels, a few stolen moments hugging newton is all it takes for me to find a way to console my self and push through the pain