David sitting with pet therapy dog, Sprocket on his lap.

#IamMGH Pet Therapy – Meet David Lindores and Sprocket

#IamMGH tells the stories of our people. In this special edition, we’re highlighting the volunteers and pet therapy dogs who support the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program. Meet David Lindores, Volunteer Pet Therapy Dog Handler, and Sprocket, a Miniature Poodle Mix and Pet Therapy Dog at Michael Garron Hospital (MGH). 

“It was almost a decade ago when I first researched pet therapy dog programs. During that time, my mom was sick and she started to deteriorate cognitively. I knew how much happiness my dogs brought her, so I made it a point to bring them along each time I visited, providing a source of comfort during those difficult days. Witnessing the positive emotions that my dogs brought her during those challenging times is what inspired me to start my journey with the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program.  

Gunner, my first pet therapy dog, passed his evaluation and began the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program in late 2014. Together, we would visit hospitals around the city, including Michael Garron Hospital (MGH). Not long after that I adopted Sprocket, a loveable miniature poodle mix.  

In 2022, when Sprocket became a pet therapy dog, we would visit patients at MGH in Complex Continuing Care, the Paediatric Department, the Stavro Emergency Department, and the Child and Youth Mental Health Inpatient Unit. We also made sure to make visits to MGH staff in departments like Human Resources, Occupational Health and Safety, and Volunteer Services. One of the most memorable days was when staff took it upon themselves to award Sprocket with the title of ‘Employee of the Year’.  

Pet therapy dogs also visit places outside of hospitals where people may feel stressed or overwhelmed like airports, schools and court houses. Because Sprocket spent several days a week volunteering, people would recognize us while off-duty and stop us to say hello. Knowing that Sprocket provided a memorable experience for people around the community is surreal. I’m so happy that together we were able to contribute moments of happiness to our community.” 

This story is in memoriam of Sprocket, who after a months-long battle with cancer, passed away on December 3, 2023. Sprocket leaves behind a trail of joy and warmth at MGH. He was a loyal companion who made a lasting impact in the hearts of all he touched. 

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