If you haven’t heard, in celebration of our 20th Anniversary, Dogs with Wings will be sharing stories of our history over the next several months leading up to our special gala event. Please enjoy our ‘Friday Facts’ and join us as we honour all of the amazing people and dogs who have crossed our path in such a remarkable way. We will be publishing these every other week to our website and various social media platforms. Our first was out January 22nd and we will continue until October 14th.
1. Who were the first team trained?
On January 31, 1997, Elisa Irlam handed over the leash of Ansil, a rescued lab cross, to Mr. Bill Owen of Edmonton. Ansil was the very first guide dog trained by the Western Guide Dog Foundation, as we were then called. Bill and Ansil worked together for eight years. They both left a profound impression on the organization and helped DWW become what it is today.
2. Where are DWW dogs working in Alberta?
Dogs with Wings has teams working in Beaumont, Bonnyville, Bragg Creek, Brooks, Calgary, Camrose, Carvel, Didsbury, Drayton Valley, Eckville, Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan, Granum, Jasper, Leduc, Medicine Hat, Okotoks, Olds, Red Deer, Sherwood Park, St. Albert, Stony Plain, Sturgeon County, Sundre, Vegreville, and Whitecourt..
A Day of B’s and C’s
January 28th was a very special day at Dogs with Wings. Breeze, Burke and Briggs, with mom DWW Madison, arrived from Can Do Canines in Minnesota courtesy of drivers Selikke and Brian. The three puppies spent a day of rest in Edmonton then made their way to their foster homes in Calgary with veteran raiser Todd and new puppy raisers Kathy, Chrissy, and David.
Then the day got even better. First time mom Cypress delivered six healthy puppies at the whelping home of Bonnie and Nick. The four males and two females, black with tiny white accents on chest or toes, are all healthy and doing fine. Cypress has plenty of milk and is a natural mom, caring for the babies like she’s done it all before. Cypress is just over 2 ½ years old. She originally came with her litter mate Seymour from PADS in Vancouver as part of DWW partnership in the North American Breeding Cooperative. The puppies’ father, Dart, is a ¾ Labrador ¼ Burmese cross from National Service Dogs in Cambridge, Ontario. NSD Dart was specifically selected for his calm and confident demeanor and for his larger size. The insemination was surgical so neither dog needed to travel.
Dogs with Wings amazing friends and family have been sharing their photos and stories on our Facebook group page since 2011. Today the group has 1208 members with more joining every day. It is an amazing place to watch our puppies’ progress through training and to see the benefits they bring to families and individuals for years to come. To share these captured moments with our supporters who do not have their own Facebook accounts, DWW has recently set up a public page that anyone on the internet can view. We will continue to build and develop this page throughout the year so make sure you check back frequently to see what’s new.
K9 Conditioning with Bobbie Lyons
On Jan 9th and 10th, Dogs with Wings hosted the first Edmonton K9 Conditioning Workshop featuring celebrated trainer Bobbie Lyons. Bobbie, CCFT, MTI, Cert CF, is a FitPAWS Master Trainer course instructor with over 10 years’ experience. The workshop attracted 40 amateur and professional trainers, veterinarians and vet techs, rescue organization staff as well as trainers of Canadian champion agility dogs. The dogs were all ages from puppies to seniors and all sizes from Pomeranian to German Shepherd. The workshop was fully booked, the lunches were excellent, and money was raised to purchase new training equipment for Dogs with Wings.
DWW Kicks Off 20th Anniversary
Dogs with Wings hit the ground running in 2016 to celebrate our 20th Anniversary. On January 23th, a kick-off event was held at Pet Planet in Calgary. Dogs, volunteers, and a beautiful cake welcomed customers and members of the public to learn more about DWW. January 31st saw the kick-off in Edmonton at Homes Alive Pets. It was ‘old home week’ as raisers got to say hello to dogs they fostered in the past and new foster parents got to meet clients whose lives have changed completely since getting their assistance dogs. Volunteers and shoppers got to enjoy popcorn and cake and everyone learned a little more about Dogs with Wings.
Ways to Help Us
20 Parties for our 20 years! We are challenging you to become a Dogs with Wings ambassador! Our 20th Anniversary is a great reason to take DWW out on the road. Talk to people, educate them about what service dogs do and what to do when they meet one. Start thinking now of ways to fundraise in your community or even just within your circle of family and friends. Invite people to consider volunteering as foster parents or helping out in other ways. We are looking for 20 new community led events to take place in 2016. Some of last year’s activities included two young girls, asking for donations to Dogs with Wings instead of presents for their birthdays. Also volunteer Rob who raised $400 by auctioning a ‘Jug and a Hug at his curling club Christmas party. Be the smiling face of Dogs with Wings where you live!