Service canine helps Vancouver burn survivors heal


The specifically educated yellow lab works with a retired 31-year North Vancouver District firefighter to assist survivors deal with stress and nervousness.

To native burn survivors, Benji is an excellent boy.

The 3.5-year-old yellow lab is an operational stress intervention canine particularly educated to assist burn and trauma survivors deal with nervousness.

Benji works with the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, which supplies providers to the almost 700 kids and adults admitted annually to the Burn, Trauma and Plastics Units at Vancouver General Hospital and BC Children’s Hospital struggling critical trauma.

His handlers are retired 31-year District of North Vancouver firefighter Peter Hansen and his spouse, Roxanne Gresham.

Benji’s educated to sense folks underneath stress, and can go to them on his personal or underneath his handlers’ course, Hansen defined.

“He just puts pressure on their body with his [paw] or body,” he stated. “And that grounds a person and lowers stress hormones.”

Hansen has been with the Burn Fund for 34 years, and manages the Home Away program, which supplies short-term lodging for burn and trauma survivors, in addition to their households.

Hansen stated he had a longer-term visitor who was lacking her canine up in Whitehorse, and so she obtained to know Benji very nicely. “She and I would take him for walks, and it really helped her feel more at home.”

While visits have been restricted in the course of the pandemic, the Burn Fund goes again to in-person camps once more, and Benji is ready to keep a whole week with the children there.

With restrictions lifting, Hansen expects he and Benji will have the ability to go to the burn items at BC Children’s Hospital and Vancouver General Hospital.

At residence, Benji is “very laid back,” and loves his handlers’ two cats. But he turns into very centered when his working jacket will get placed on.

“He knows he’s working, and he just really settles down and gets to work,” Hansen stated.

Benji was donated to the Burn Fund by Vancouver Island Compassion Dogs, a division of B.C. and Alberta Guide Dogs. 

In collaboration with VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation, the Burn Fund is promoting tickets for the 2022 Hometown Heroes Lottery.

Proceeds will present funds for specialised grownup well being providers and analysis at VGH and UBC Hospital, GF Strong Rehab Centre, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute and Vancouver Community Health Services. Tickets are on sale till midnight, July 14, or till they promote out.