‘Dog Days of Summer’ come to North Delta’s Kennedy Seniors Recreation Centre

Dozens of the centre's members beat the August heat with some ice cream, blueberries and canine companionship.

Gerry Redmond

This year, the ‘“dog days of summer” means something a little bit different at the Kennedy Seniors Recreation Centre.

The excitement in the room was palpable as dozens of the centre’s members enjoyed a visit by some four-legged friends courtesy of the St. John Ambulance therapy dog program and BC Guide Dogs on Aug. 10.

Laura Saker, social director with the Kennedy House Seniors Society (the volunteer-based group that runs the centre), said the event was intended to get seniors out of the heat and into the air-conditioned centre.

“Dog Days was set up because August is the hottest time of the year and we have a lot of seniors here who live in apartment buildings that are sweltering hot,” Saker said. “We want them in this building [and] we want them hydrated, so the idea was we had the room free, let’s set up something [and] bring them in.”

Saker said the event was part of an ongoing effort to shake things up at the centre and encourage seniors to come in and not only beat the heat, but interact and socialize.

Members enjoy some canine company during Kennedy Seniors Recreation Centre's Dog Days of Summer event.Members enjoy some canine company during Kennedy Seniors Recreation Centre’s Dog Days of Summer event. Image credit: James Smith

“We’re trying to do things a little bit different. We’re trying to get out of the normal you have a tea party or something like that,” she said. “We’ve had two or three different social events where we haven’t brought in entertainment we’ve just done activities at the table because it’s amazing how they start to communicate with each other. They meet people they see everyday, the ones who come in here. They have fun and that’s what it’s about.”

Saker said the visit from the dogs did just that.

“A lot of them had dogs [but] can’t have dogs anymore. They love getting their hands on them, so this was the perfect opportunity to do that,” she said.

Susie Ward of BC Guide Dogs, who was accompanied by a five-month-old black Labrador retriever named Pebbles, said events like this are an important part of training for both the dogs and their handlers.

“We socialize them as much as possible, so I really like to be out to as many events as I can get the dogs out to,” Ward said. “They’re just so good for us and so good for the dogs. It’s nice for the puppy trainers to be able to feel comfortable in situations like this as well. All that stuff goes right down this leash to the dog; if you are nervous, your dog’s going to be nervous as well.”

Gerry Redmond is a member of the centre and the co-facilitator for the therapy dog program at St. John Ambulance’s Surrey/Delta/Langley branch. She said the unconditional love that dogs like her eight-year-old Japanese chin/shih tzu-cross Bailey (full name Bailey Anderson Cooper Nelson Redmond) provide adds a much-needed dose of positivity to a lot of people’s lives.

“Many people in care homes have had dogs as younger people and have had to maybe give up a dog when they’ve had to move into a care home. It’s devastating. It’s like losing part of your family,” Redmond said. “So when they see the dogs come in, it just gives them such a boost. I’ve had people say, ‘it makes my day,’ and I think you could ask any one of our handlers and we would all say the same thing.”

St John Ambulance therapy dog Bleu, a seven-year-old springer spaniel, enjoys a well-deserved rest at her handler Monique van Leeuwen's feet after the Kennedy Seniors Recreation Centre's Dog Days of Summer event.St John Ambulance therapy dog Bleu, a seven-year-old springer spaniel, enjoys a well-deserved rest at her handler Monique van Leeuwen’s feet after the Kennedy Seniors Recreation Centre’s Dog Days of Summer event. Image credit: James Smith

As for the Dog Days of Summer event, Saker said it was a big success. Although there are currently no plans to bring the dogs back before next summer, that hasn’t stopped enthusiastic members from enquiring.

“People keep asking, ‘when are the dogs coming back?’” Saker said.

Just Posted

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Former North Delta pastor, son ‘preyed upon shared spirituality’ to defraud investors of $450K: BCSC

BCSC panel publishes financial sanctions against Alan and Jerry Braun, Steven Maxwell

Plan to redevelop former Surrey motel site too dense, says Coun. Pettigrew

Pettigrew: ‘We need to build liveable community with green spaces… not massive zones that are densified’

Video database offers way for public to assist Delta police

DPD’s community watch program allows homes, businesses to let police know where they can find cameras

Snowfall warning: 5-10 cm expected in Lower Mainland

The snowfall will start Tuesday and carry on into the evening, before tapering off Wednesday

‘Our entire municipality is heartbroken’: Seven children die in Halifax house fire

A man and woman remained in hospital Tuesday afternoon, the man with life-threatening injuries

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

Abbotsford man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

UPDATE: Missing snowshoer identified as 39-year-old Surrey man

Search suspend because of bad weather on Mount Seymour

Make sure measles shots up to date, Public Health Agency says

Measles causes high fever, coughing, sneezing and a widespread painful rash

Most Read