Who better to teach about the importance of kindness than a big, lovable dog.
Toby, a three-year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever, is on a Million Acts of Kindness Tour for the next six weeks to teach kindness, acceptance and respect.
Charmaine Hammond, of North Vancouver, who is taking Toby on the 15,000 km RV trip around Canada and the northern United States, calls her dog an ‘ambassadog’ of kindness.
“He is love and fun on four legs. He’s great. His passion in life is being with people and making people happy. He is just so unconditionally accepting, whether it’s in a dog park or in a school,” said Hammond on Thursday where the pair were going to attend a community clean-up at Bower Ponds before a Free Family Movie in the Park.
This is Hammond’s second tour with Toby.
Hammond, a former correctional officer and mediator, is a team building and communication speaker known for her book, Chicken Soup for the Soul – What I learned from the dog, and a series of children’s books.
The pair also did a corporate presentation while in Red Deer on Thursday.
“Kindness is so important not only in schools, but in workplaces. The number of students, and adults in the workplace, that are experiencing bullying, harassment, or just a sense of disrespect, is pretty significant.”
Her first dog, Toby Sr., who was trained as a therapy dog and visited schools and hospitals, inspired her books. Now Toby Jr. is continuing the tradition by participating in Hammond’s presentations.
She said a dog brings an unique element to her talks and evokes a strong response from students.
“What we were hearing from teachers, students and parents, was that the presentation we provided around kindness, acceptance and respect with Toby left a very long-lasting impression on students.”
Million Acts of Kindness Tour started Aug. 30 and is visiting 100 communities to issue a kindness challenge to people.
“Every community we go to we have people stopping to share their stories. We’ve learned through these tours that’s part of what inspires more kindness to happen. Kindness makes people feel good, whether they’re on the giving or receiving end. And when people talk about kindness, they’re more inspired to be kind.”
Major tour sponsored are Fraserway RV and Petland Canada.
For more information visit www.charmainehammond.com.