Jessica Roy

This doctor and her dog are day-maker medicine

By the Get Leashed Doggy Style Team

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Dogs do a great deal to make us feel better. Just their presence is calming, and having one around has been shown to make you happier and healthier overall. Of course when we need more than just a mood boost, we turn to doctors. Bless doctors, right? They endured loads of schooling because they were interested in helping people feel better.  Needless to say, the best combination to heal what ails you and to leave you feeling at peace? A doctor with a dog. Recently, Get Leashed got to know one of these magical combos, and we’re so glad we did.

Jessica Roy’s work is inspiring. While she admits that palliative care can be emotionally difficult, she’s focused on the rewarding aspects – helping people live as comfortably as possible in whatever time they have left on this earth. We love that her dog, Chloe, accompanies her on her house calls and brings a bit of joy, comfort and (undeniably, if you’ve met Chloe) a bit of comic relief too.

Get to know this lovely and loving duo in our feature below.

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Please tell us about yourself:

I work as a family physician. I have a wide scope of practice – family medicine clinic, inpatient medicine (caring for those admitted to hospital), emergency room coverage in remote rural areas, but recently I decided to focus on home-based palliative care (house calls). Although at times it can be sad, it is very rewarding to help those in need, focusing on quality of life and helping them die with dignity. For some patients who love dogs, and who expressed interest (and consent), I bring Chloe along to lighten the mood, to make them smile.

A bit about your pet:

Chloe is a goldendoodle  – her dad was a white, grey and black spotted poodle, hence her unusual coat. I tell people she is “charcoal.” I’m excited to see what she looks like as time goes by. I decided to get her after I took care of my mother’s two goldendoodles for 9 months – two country dogs in the city. With a dog, I was more active, more social, and overall happier. I got Chloe from the same breeder, hoping she would have as nice of a temperament as my mom’s dogs. As it turns out, Chloe’s personality completely reflects mine. My friends say she is the dog version of me: “calm and easygoing.” I bring her along wherever/whenever I can, and she’s happy to be included.

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What does your ideal weekend look like?

An ideal weekend starts with dragging Chloe out of bed (she’s not a morning dog), a coffee at Crafted on Ossington, a stroll along Queen or Dundas West, as a lot of the stores are pet friendly, some off leash time at Trinity Bellwoods, maybe a nap, followed by a BBQ with friends on my terrace – at times Chloe’s dog pals come too. I love to host! On extended weekends, Chloe and I get out of town and head to my cottage on the Ottawa River – I think I speak for us both when I say it is our happy place.

Describe your personal style:

Classic yet casual.

What inspires you?

I have always loved the Ben Howard lyric “I will become what I deserve.” It inspires me to be a better person, and project a positive energy.

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How would you describe the look and feel of your home?

It’s often challenging to make a rental feel like home, but I feel like my space reflects who I am – comfortable, calming, organized, but a bit eclectic.

A story about Chloe:

In the last year, I’ve had the pleasure to provide home-based care for a lovely elderly woman. When getting to know her she told me of her dog who had died, and that in hard times, how he brought her a lot of hope. I offered to bring Chloe to an appointment, and with her consent, Chloe came every visit thereafter. Chloe’s demeanour is perfect for these situations – she is calm, quiet, and gentle. She would sit right by the patient, and soak up all the love she had to give. It was amazing to see the difference Chloe made in the patient’s demeanour — her outlook was much more positive. My patient looked forward to our visits; she told me it gave her hope. Chloe’s positive, calm nature helped this patient, but she also helps me cope with the demands of my job, the heaviness of the responsibility, and she shows me how to be goofy and playful when my job can be very serious and professional. I’m blessed to have her!