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Bulletin Editor
Avis Hardy MPH
MEETING RECAP - 9 May 2022
Submitted by Will Arscott 
Presentation: The St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program
This meeting was held in person at the Saskatoon Club. Gary Kerr was the only taker on the Zoom option. Wendy Cooper was our MC. Cashier was Wayne Palmer. Technology was handled by Mark Gryba and Paul Gauthier. Thanks also to Avis Hardy for setting up the roster. Avis also acted as greeter and introduced the visitors and guests.
We began with singing ‘O Canada’. Gary Rusu led the way in a lower key with good results.   The blessing was asked by Graham Pearson who started from a text written by his own grandfather who was a World War I vet.
Visitors and Guests
We were joined by representatives from the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program. We had three handlers and two very well-behaved therapy dogs who were introduced later in the program.  (Actually, I thought I saw Jim Weber trying to recruit the dogs to become members of our club.)
Health of the Club
Since the last meeting the club members were notified, that Marc Cheriyan had experienced a major health event and remains in ICU. All our members join in wishing the very best for Marc.
The 2022 District Conference: Was held over two Thursday evenings. There is still one session left which will be via Zoom on May 12, 6:00 pm – Special Entertainment and at 6:30 Climate change in on Canada and on the prairies – current research.
May 14, 8:00AM -District AGM. You can register for this conference on the District 5550 website.
Our club has once again qualified for the District Literacy Award for 2021-22 in recognition of the projects we do that promotes literacy in the community and internationally.
We are running a new fundraiser – a small prize raffle lotto.  For this type of lottery, we can have a prize pool with a maximum value of $2,500 but we are allowed to sell up to $30,000 worth of tickets. So, with an aggressive sales campaign, this can become a significant fundraiser and increase the funds that we have available for our projects.  This raffle is being organized by Jim Weber, Wayne Storozuk and Tim Squire, and they plan to have the draw in September. At this time, we are trying to get our prize pool set over the next 2 or 3 weeks so that tickets can be printed. They are looking for several prizes in the $200 to $500 range (an example: the Willows GC has agreed to donate some golf passes to be used as one of the prizes).  Please contact Jim if you have a contact where you can get a prize donated. Jim Weber also spoke on this project and emphasized that the tickets would be easier to sell if we had five or six or more significant and attractive secondary prizes. Once the prizes are determined we will need all members to sell the tickets.
The Meewasin Rotary Club will be running its major fundraising event – the Lobsterfest – this year and tickets are now on sale.  It runs June 9 & 10, and this year it will be a catered event at the Gordie Howe Sports Centre. President Mark will send out an email with a poster for the event attached, and this poster includes links to purchase tickets online as well as a 50-50 draw.
Our next meeting will be in 3 weeks on May 30.  Our speaker will be Joeline Magill from Hope Restored Saskatoon.  This is the organization that we are supporting as our newest local community project, and we will hear about the critical work that they do here in our community.
The Hope Restored works to get young women and girls out of trafficking and the associated issues with being out on the street.
Friendship Inn:  Our next opportunity for service is next Monday May 16 from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm. If you can help, please talk to Gary Rusu. Gary got several members confirmed at the meeting. This time our volunteers will have the new aprons created by Jenny Lawrence. Thank you!
Our last meeting of the year – our President’s Dinner - will take place on Monday, June 27. It will be a supper meeting rather that lunch, and as usual, spouses or significant others will also be invited to attend.  More details would be available at our next meeting.
Grocery Cards: Please see Donna Gauthier and be prepared for the May long weekend. Please contact her to order your cards. They can be ordered now to be available at the next meeting or they can be delivered. 
Happy and Sad Dollars
  •  Mark Gryba started us off with $20H for playing his first game of golf for the new season.
  • Gary Rusu paid the dinner costs for our three visitors and welcomed Rudy and Piper to our meeting.
  • Mike LeClaire put in happy dollars for now being a grandpa. It is a happy occasion, and everyone is doing fine.
  • Graham and Darcel Pearson $200 for the start of golf season and having a son join them at Riverside GC.  Graham explained that the club projects are a preferred beneficiary of he and Darcel’s charitable giving. Graham directed the gift to the Rotary Foundation to provide relief in the Ukraine.
  • Prem Parma put in $10H for completion of the water project in Nepal ahead of schedule and below cost.  He also put in 10S for his father’s recent serious illness. Prem had to stay with his father for several weeks at the hospital but now his father is recovering.
  • Jack Brodsky $200H for not having to go golfing yet this year. Considering how many of our members really look forward to the start of golf season Jack must not like to go golfing. It is great our club can earn donations by having Jack not go golfing.
  • Jim Weber $50H for being back from Puerto Vallarta.  As much as Jim likes PV in the winter, spring in Saskatoon is great. He was also happy about the G&W game and how it bodes for the Huskies fall football season.  Jim is also happy to get the raffle project underway.
  • Maureen Torr $5H for the start of the second semester at Joy’s Project. The good news is that they are up about 50 students. The bad news is that the price of everything is rising especially food. This is putting pressure on the program. Maureen gave a very special thanks to Shirley and Jack Brodsky for their contribution to the project.
  • Paul Gauthier $20H for being the proud new owner of an SUV after so many years of owning nothing but trucks.
The St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program
Our guests were introduced by Gary Rusu. He pointed out the fine new vests the dogs were wearing which had been donated by our club. The vests are important to distinguish the dogs as working dogs when they are out in public. The vests have the logo of our club and the Rotary Wheel. It is hoped this will help increase the visibility of our club and Rotary in general.
The talk began by introducing us to the visitor dogs: The first dog was Ruby who is an eight-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever. Ruby had to have a leg amputated at age three because she had cancer. This would have been a very difficult decision at the time, but we were assured that Ruby can to the things she loves like swimming and exploring. The second dog was Piper who is a Burmese Mountain Dog. This is a large breed that has become more popular in recent years.  These dogs have very heavy coats and Piper must be watched when he is inside because he overheats easily. He is also a mature dog.
The St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog Program makes use of volunteer dogs and volunteer handlers. These dogs are not considered service dogs in the strict sense but are family companion dogs who have an ability to calm and comfort. Anyone and their dog can apply to join the program. The first requirement is that the dogs must be safe around people. They must also enjoy meeting people. Once this is determined then the dog and the handler are assessed as to whether they can comfort the people they meet. The demeanor of the handler is as important as that of the dog.  In general, a dog must be at least four years old to be settled enough to be accepted into the program. Both large and small dogs are used.  Big dogs can go bedside at a hospital so as not to disturb patients. Smaller dogs can be brought into people’s laps.
The Saskatoon program has had sixty or more dog and handler teams. This number is down due to covid.  Over the covid period there has not been as much chance for the dogs to work. The dogs visit all sorts of places such as long-term care facilities, hospitals, and the airport. They go anywhere people can become emotionally distressed. Recently they have begun to appear in the emergency departments of the hospitals. They also go to provincial jails and the psychiatric jail.   Since covid the dogs have spent a lot of time comforting children at the vaccination sites.
One of the guests is a researcher from the U of S who is working to evidence the effectiveness of the therapy dogs. To date she is showing they have considerable value. The handlers told stories of comforting people at the airport who had experienced multiple flight delays. They told stories of children who became so distracted by the dogs that they didn’t even notice their dreaded vaccination.
Our guests were thanked by Wendy Cooper. In recognition of the presentation the regular Club donation will be made to Bethany Homes.