This Friday is National Stress Awareness Day, and St. John Ambulance is planning to boost spirits through a virtual dog therapy session.

Before the pandemic, therapy dog sessions visited facilities such as hospitals, care homes, schools, workplaces, and more on a weekly basis.

While these visits are still on pause, the therapy dog program team has adapted to a one-day virtual model to provide the connection that so many people are craving.

One of the pups showing up for the meeting is Molly, a Golden Retriever,

Her handler, Shirley Earle, said it never gets old seeing the difference in mood from everyone that gets to meet Molly.

“Dogs give non-judgmental and unconditional love, and Molly demonstrates that wherever she goes. We miss our visits so much and we know all of the seniors we visited in the past miss their weekly comfort as well,” said Earle.

“We know that nothing can replace the physical part of our visits, but I hope we can fill some of that void during this tough time with Molly’s virtual presence.”

In the 15-minute visits, you can expect to hear about the dog and their volunteer work, learn about the importance of dogs when it comes to mental health, be able to ask questions or

share their own stories, and maybe even watch the dogs show off some talents and tricks.

The virtual event will take place this Friday, with 15-minute time slots available between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm.

Anyone can book a visit, whether it’s one individual, a workplace team, or alongside family or friends.