Chestermere Therapy Dog’s Society President and active volunteer Steve King was recognized for Canada’s sesquicentennial by StandOUT Publication’s 150 Canadians Who Stand Out.
“Very humble is my major reaction,” laughed king when asked about the article King.
“It’s very humbling to be recognized like that,” he said.
The article came about after a friend of King’s suggested that, with his history of volunteering and his work as President of the Chestermere Therapy Dogs Society, he should apply to StandOUT Publications for the Canadians Who Stand Out series.
“I said well ya, I’ll give it a go,” said King.
King didn’t give the feature series much thought after that and was surprised to get a call to be featured.
“Low and behold they seemed to like what they saw,” he said.
The article series focused on 150 Canadians who made a difference whether it was in their community or across Canada.
“It was the volunteer thing that was my angle,” said King.
“I’ve got a fundamental belief in giving back to the community,” he said.
King reiterated that it was humbling to be included this cross section of successful Canadians who have made a difference in their communities.
“I hope the article also reflected not just the therapy dogs but the breadth of the volunteerism I’ve been involved with,”
Volunteering has been a major part of his life for the past 20 years.
“You just live it anyway,” he said, “I think the recognition is almost like a side issue, you know you’re going to continue doing it [volunteering] because it becomes a way of life.”
Looking back on some of his life’s experiences, King feels that his time volunteering with the Calgary Food Bank had a particular impact on his life.
King served on the Calgary Food Bank board for four and a half years in addition to volunteering there.
“It exposed me to how to run a not for profit organization extremely well,” he said, “they had just some great people that work and get involved with the food bank.”
He also gained the ability to be a public speaker there.
“It gave me the confidence to be able to speak in front of groups as well,” said King.
This experience is what King credits gave him the skills and confidence to found the Chestermere Therapy Dogs Society.
While his time with the Calgary Food Bank may have had the most influence on his life, Kings said that it is his work with the therapy dogs that has the biggest impact in the community.
“It’s dealt with young kids, its dealt with seniors, its dealt with families so I’d say that was the most far reaching,” he said.
Looking to the future, King plans to continue volunteering and working hard to expand the programs and services offered by the Chestermere Therapy Dogs Society.
“We have some significant plans for therapy dogs in process,” he said.
He and the rest of the society’s board of directors are always looking for new areas where it would make sense for the therapy dogs to be involved.
King is looking to increase the society’s work in the City of Calgary.
“I’m currently just starting negotiations with the Calgary Board of Education and they seem quite interested in having the programs in the schools,” said King.
They are also exploring the possibility of working with a local psychologist that is interested in collaborating with the therapy dogs in her practice.
Other opportunities could include working with speech therapists and funeral homes.
“I think that we’ve only just started to scrape the surface of how therapy dogs can really help the population,” said King.