Magic the therapy dog and his handler, Dave Fletcher, are regular visitors at schools and care homes. Scott Stanfield photo

Magic the therapy dog and his handler, Dave Fletcher, are regular visitors at schools and care homes. Scott Stanfield photo

Therapy dog has 2,000 service hours to credit

Magic, a St. John Ambulance therapy dog, has achieved 2,000 hours of community service.

The seven-year-old Samoyed, who started out as a show dog, is a regular visitor at The Views at St. Joseph’s, schools, and at a variety of public events.

“This morning (Monday), we were working at Mark Isfeld school for an hour-and-a-half, most of which was taken up with a student practising reading to Magic, who is not critical of errors, but it does build student confidence,” said Dave Fletcher, his owner and handler.

Fletcher has been a therapy dog handler for 19 years. Magic is his third dog.

The Canada-wide St. John Ambulance therapy dog program brings joy and comfort to the sick, lonely and those who need a friendly visit. Therapy dogs like Magic are tested for temperament, obedience and socialization to work in a variety of situations. They don’t, however, receive the same privileges as seeing eye dogs and other service dogs that, for instance, are allowed to enter grocery stores.

Magic qualified to work with adults in 2013 and with children in 2015. Since then, he’s put in more than an hour per day.

Magic has mingled with people at North Island College, the Comox Valley Exhibition, Nautical Days in Comox, and the Recreation Exhibition for 19 Wing (REXSPO). He’s also visited the Courtenay Court House and Amethyst House — a recovery centre for women operated by the Comox Valley Transition Society. He has just started with Lilli House, another CVTS operation.

As he’s done the last several years, Magic will be ringing bells during the Salvation Army Kettle campaign, which runs Nov. 29 — Dec. 24.