Future Service Dogs

September 21, 2020

Four puppies embarked on their two-year journey to become service dogs Friday when Dogs with Wings paired them with their new foster families in Grande Prairie.

Teresa Boudreault, a puppy raiser and board member for Dogs with Wings, was among those paired with a puppy during the Puppy Pick Up Parade at the Muskoseepi Park Amphitheatre.

“I think we’re probably more excited than (the puppies) are. It’s a big transition for the puppies,” Boudreault said.

“I’m thrilled that we got four of the litter that are here that can maintain that socialization with their brothers and sisters.”

Dogs with Wings is a non-profit organization that breeds, trains and provides service dogs in Alberta. It also provides autism service dogs as well as facility and companion dogs.

Service dogs can take two years to train and are worth $40,000 each. Boudreault explained how volunteers are provided food and training for their puppies.

“We look after them. We give them basic skills. When we’re not dealing with COVID, we’re socializing them to get them used to being outside and around people.”

Puppies usually stick with their foster families for 12-to-14 months and then go to Edmonton where they will develop their more advanced skills.

Including the four puppies paired on Friday, Dogs with Wings has seven puppies total being raised in Grande Prairie.

The organization also highlighted the impact of two service dogs for the local area.

A facility dog named Archer works at the Caribou Child and Youth Centre, which helps minors who have been abused or exploited.

Roxanne Beeler, a dog handler and a paralegal at the local Crown prosecutor’s office, explained how Archer acted as a “de-stressor” for children who have to talk about something that is disturbing for them.

“He will attend forensic interviews with children if they are giving an interview to the police or to Children’s Services,” Beeler said.

“He’ll sit with them. They can pet him. It just helps them relax a little. As well, he will go to court if the children have to testify in court and he’ll sit on the witness stand with them.”

Beeler noted that the addition of Archer helped bring the Caribou Centre up to date with other child advocacy centres across the province.

“It’s just something that was always lacking in the north,” she said. “We didn’t have one of these dogs, and he still remains the only one north of Edmonton, so he’s in high need.”

Dogs with Wings also has an autism service dog named Juna working in the Grande Prairie area.

Heidi Waye and her husband Kris applied for the service dog when their 10-year-old daughter Naomi was diagnosed with autism at the age of three.

Although on a wait list for five years, Waye said it was “absolutely” worth it.

“The No. 1 purpose of any autism service dog is really about the bolting or the wandering that is common among autistic children,” she said.

Her daughter can also focus on Juna when she is in an environment that may be too overstimulating for her.

“When we’re at a restaurant, she might spend half of that time under the table with the dog, just petting her dog… putting her face into her back and lay there and it’s just a de-stressor,” Wayne said.

“(Juna) was amazing to have at Disneyland. I don’t think we could have done it without Juna because again it gave Naomi somewhere to just sit down and just kind of zone in to her pup.”

  • Most Recent News

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    January 8, 2021

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    January 8, 2021

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    January 8, 2021

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    January 7, 2021

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    January 7, 2021

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more

    The Right Rescue Dog

    January 7, 2021

    If your New Year’s resolution is to add a canine family member, good for you. Somewhere out there is the perfect puppy or adult dog for your family. You have a lot of things to think about when you begin to look for that new family member, puppy or dog? Large or small? Purebred or […]

    Read more

    Police Dog Attack

    January 7, 2021

    A resolution headed to the Duluth City Council on Monday could put to rest a lawsuit filed by Teri Lynn Ehlers, an employee of the Patch Motel, who was bitten by a Duluth police dog named Oakley. Former Duluth Police Officer Marc Johnson was a registered guest of the Warroad establishment May 28, 2018, when […]

    Read more

    PAWS With A Cause

    January 7, 2021

    Pebble Hill Plantation and the Thomas County Public Library are pleased to announce the upcoming Enlightening Bites program, “PAWS With a Cause,” on Friday, January 8, 2021 at noon in the Flipper Room of the Library. The program is being presented by Jeri Anderson, field representative. Anderson is recently retired from the City of Monticello, […]

    Read more

    Police Canine Team

    January 7, 2021

    Kingston Police revealed in a news release late Wednesday afternoon that they’ve been keeping a four-legged secret for roughly three months. The force announced it added a second canine unit, with the arrival of police service dog Dak this past October. He is working with Const. Jeff Dickson, while police service dog Bask is working […]

    Read more

    K9s For Warriors

    January 7, 2021

    K9s For Warriors, a nonprofit organization that provides military veterans suffering from severe PTSD, traumatic brain injury and military sexual trauma with service animals, recently changed the name of its main campus to honor its leader and founder Shari Duval. Duval began K9s For Warriors in 2011 after her son returned from two tours in […]

    Read more

    More Recent News