National Volunteer Week: Mel & Chewy

Melanie found Therapeutic Paws of Canada, an organization of volunteers and their pets that provide therapeutic supports, after spending some time as a patient in a hospital. Melanie took her dog Chewy to be evaluated and a few months after passing 12 tests, they began volunteering at Homes First’s Kennedy shelter. Now over a year later, Chewy and Mel are still going strong and bringing joy to the women at Kennedy every week.

“It’s totally rewarding for me,” says Melanie. “If I could do it seven days a week I would.”

Currently, Melanie works part time in insurance. On her days off, she and Chewy volunteer at various places other than Homes First, including a senior’s home, colleges and universities, and hospitals. While Melanie is proud to give back to her community, Chewy seems to love his job of spreading happiness even more.

“He loves what he does. Every time I say, ‘Chewy, want to go to work?’ he pops up and wags his tail and gets excited.” 

At first, Melanie felt a little hurt when some residents were scared of Chewy, but over time, Chewy has made best friends at Kennedy.

“I couldn’t feel anymore rewarded anytime I walk into Homes First or a school,” says Melanie. “I can’t even express how rewarding it is.”

(Unfortunately Chewy was unavailable for comment at the time of this interview, but we’re sure he says woof woof.)

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Housing first is part of the solution to ending chronic homelessness.

Homes First Administration Office, 90 Shuter Street, Suite 206, Toronto, ON M5B 2K6
Phone: 416-214-1870 Fax: 416-214-1873

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