Willow

Trigger Warning: The content below contains information on mental illness and suicide which some readers may find triggering. If you need support, please contact the Ontario Shores crisis line: 1-800-263-2679.

Pets and positivity: Willow’s Story

Working as a sales representative for a beverage company, Willow was used to spending lots of time in stores and interacting with people. So when COVID-19 hit, life as she knew it changed – every day felt like a rollercoaster of emotions, with endless new procedures and policies to follow.

Feeling the impacts of the pandemic reminded Willow of the importance of mental health, something she’s been passionate about since a young age. Raised with both a mother and an uncle who worked at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences, Willow understands how vital access to quality mental health care truly is.

In fact, prior to the onset of COVID-19, Willow was a regular volunteer at Ontario Shores. She visited the hospital weekly with an unexpected sidekick: her loveable golden retriever, Aspyn.

Visiting various units of the hospital, Aspyn could always be counted on to lift the spirits and boost the mood of people navigating mental health challenges. Aspyn’s happy demeanour and cheerful personality made the dog a ray of sunshine for many.

Aspyn offered “a unique way to connect with patients from the traditional methods of medication and therapy,” explains Willow.

Pet therapy is just one of the many innovative approaches Ontario Shores takes to providing quality mental health services. 

When you give to Ontario Shores, you ensure patients have access to a variety of approaches to mental health care. Just as Aspyn offered a light during many patients’ dark days, you too can bring hope and positivity during a difficult journey. Together, we can uplift people as they navigate an often-challenging road to recovery.

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