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VOLUME 21 | ISSUE 4
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Getting Through It with Man’s Best Friend
Tahnee Malazdrewicz—Marketing & Events Coordinator, IBAO
Having volunteered for six years with his Great Dane as a therapy dog, Rodney Kaufman recognized an increased need within the corporate world. Companies and organizations were looking for different ways to help their employees manage stress and improve overall mental health and wellbeing. “Working in corporate catering as an Executive Chef, I witnessed high levels of stress within organizations and HR departments looking for different forms of wellness to bring into their offices. We’ve all had chair massages and mani-pedi days, but people were looking for something new.” Rodney launched Corporate Canine Therapy and saw his dream come to fruition. “The dog on the homepage of our website is my Great Dane, Harlow, who was my catalyst for starting this business and a rock star of a therapy dog—now semi-retired. We started with five teams, which include a dog and their owner/handler, and within a year and a half we were close to 50 teams. The demand skyrocketed and we adapted quickly to keep up. My wife, Jane Pearlman, is my business partner and Wellness Manager for Corporate Canine. She handles day-to-day operations, bookings and clients and I handle the dog side of things, bringing in new teams, vetting the dogs and managing marketing and social media.” Generally, when someone thinks of ways to improve their mental health, talk therapy, meditation, self-care or physical activity come to mind. However, therapy dogs have been used all over the world for decades with the purpose of helping people deal with mental health challenges. “It’s been proven that the simple act of petting a dog can bring down stress levels within seven minutes by almost 50%. When you take away the stress and anxiety, employee productivity increases, communication improves and employee turnover rates are drastically reduced. For office and corporate environments, it’s mostly touch therapy with dogs, team building and stress management.
Generally, when someone thinks of ways to improve their mental health, talk therapy, meditation, self-care or physical activity come to mind. However, therapy dogs have been used all over the world for decades with the purpose of helping people deal with mental health challenges.

“We do offer other services like bite exposure therapy or fear of dog exposure, which is for people who either have a fear of dogs for no apparent reason or have been chased or attacked by a dog in their past. We help get them to where they’re able to walk down the street without fear and stress. We also work in different capacities with autistic children and seniors. We’re Toronto-based but serve many cities across Ontario.” With 38 different breeds and almost 50 dogs on their roster, there’s literally a dog for everyone. “We have dogs ranging from four pounds to 160. If you want a lap dog, we’ve got a teddy bear Pomeranian named BoBo who will rock your world. Maybe you prefer to keep it chill and lie on the floor with a 160-pound Great Dane for a body hug—we’ve got that too.” If you’re wondering what a typical touch therapy visit looks like, it’s probably as amazing as you’d imagine. “A typical visit includes tactile touch, on-the-floor cuddles, playing with the dogs and socializing with coworkers. When everyone’s together and having fun with the dogs, they start opening up, talking about their own dogs or their experiences with animals. That’s where team building comes in. Leaving the office behind for a brief period to share an experience together, facilitated through these four-legged animals that ask for nothing in return can be very rewarding.” Although the business was hit hard by the pandemic, they know that once people start going back into the office, dog therapy services will be needed more than ever. “We’re really looking forward to the world opening up again and people using our services to offset stress and anxiety in the workplace as we approach normalcy. We’ve noticed people are starting to rebook again. Hopefully we’ll get back to where we were prior to the pandemic by helping people transition as the world gets back to normal—whatever that’s going to look like.”
VOLUME 21 | ISSUE 4
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