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‘It’s wonderful’: Therapy dogs and their owners mark 10 years of serving Calgary

This is a big month for some dedicated Calgary volunteers and their four-legged friends.

Three volunteers with the Pet Access League Society(PALS)  are celebrating a decade of boosting spirts and bringing comfort for a lot of people.

“I love meeting all these people,” PALS volunteer Pam Pastirik said.

Pastirik brings her dog Callie along on regular visits to seniors at the Carewest Sarcee care home in southwest Calgary.

“They give a lot of comfort to me and other people,” care home resident Ivan Mihaljevich said. “It’s wonderful.”

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Along with seniors, PALS volunteers and their dogs also visit hospitals and the Calgary International Airport, providing support wherever it’s needed.

“We’ve visited a preschool for the developmentally delayed,” Pastirik said.

Valerie Sodenberg is one of PALS’ longest-serving volunteers, having served with the organization for 20 years.

“I enjoy seeing the smiles on their faces,” Sodenberg said.

Several of the volunteers’ dogs are themselves seniors — Pastirik’s dog Callie recently celebrated her 12th birthday.

“Callie just had a physical and she’s doing really well,” Pastirik said. “We’ll keep going as long as she lets me know she’s loving it.”

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