Birdies for Kids Partnership

Birdies for Kids
Birdies for Kids

All donations made today will be in partnership with Dogs with Wings and Birdies for Kids presented by AltaLink.

All proceeds/donations will run through Birdies for Kids presented by AltaLink (BFK), a fundraising program designed to give charities the opportunity to solicit donations and recive additional funding of up to 50%.

Participating charities will receive 100% of EVERY DONATION collected on their behalf.

Tax receipts are available upon request for donations of $20 or more.

For more details on BFK, go to: Shaw Charity Classic – Birdies for Kids

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January 31st is Contest Kick-Off Day!

Contest Kick-Off

Mary Butterworth School and Dogs with Wings have partnered with Hockey Helps Kids for their 2018 Charity Cup Challenge Video Contest!  We are #93 TEAM NUGENT-HOPKINS!  Mark your calendars as the Voting Contest will begin on Wednesday, January 31st, 2018, when Hockey Helps Kids will air the five contest videos.  MBS & DWW invite you to vote for #93 Team Nugent-Hopkins, and help support DWW and the work we do!  Here are the details of the Contest:

  • Grand Prize Winner receives $25,000!!!
  • Voting Day begins on Wednesday, January 31 and ends on Monday, February 26, 2018
  • To vote, simply go to: and click on the “Vote” tab (Official Contest Rules can also be found here.)
  • To vote, you must be a minimum age of 13 years old
  • You are eligible to vote one time per day throughout the contest period
  • You can vote from any device as long as you have an internet connection
  • Mark your calendars to vote each day of the contest and PLEASE encourage everyone you know to vote for #93 Team Nugent-Hopkins!!! Together, we can Crush this Contest!

Thank You!

Thank you for 20 amazing years!

We look forward to spending the next 20 working with you as well.

It would be wonderful if we could personally thank all the amazing people who have befriended, volunteered, supported, and advocated for Dogs with Wings over the past 20 years but that list is near endless. However, if you are new to our newsletter or have missed reading about Dogs with Wings history through our Friday Facts, please visit our newsletter sign up page to subscribe. We have captured some of the highlights on how we reached this milestone and how much we appreciate our Dogs with Wings family.

Season’s Greetings from Dogs with Wings!

Cathy Cross
Interim Executive Director/Fund Development Manager

Elisa Irlam
Director of Client Services

Maria Illes
Director of Training

Moira Wegner

Kerri Davis
Volunteer Coordinator

Kim Zahara
Fund Development Coordinator

Erin Tilley
Health & Kennel Coordinator

Taylor Eastman
Trainer (Apprentice)

Veronica Fraser

Caitlin Mungham-Bonaldo
Breeding Coordinator

Michelle Douglas
Volunteer Coordinator, Calgary

Kim Jeannotte
Puppy Leader Calgary

Rebecca Hayes-Copeland
Puppy Leader Grande Prairie

Carol Walker

And all our dogs in training of 2016:
Apollo, Archer, Aria, Axel, Breeze, Briggs, Burke, Cagney, Cessco II, Chai, Chewie, Chili, Cider, Coal, Cooper II, Cypress, Darby, Dee, Deuce, Dublin, Ember, Everly, Fawna, Fernie, Flora, Gemini, G-Litter, H-Litter, KC, Indy, Lacey, Luna, Madison, Manny, Maple, Matlock, Mulder, Pepper, Polo, Reign, Rio, Robson, Rugby, Sota, Spirit II, Summer, Sylvie, Turbo, Ultra, Unity, Vaughn, Venus, Waldo, Walker, Watson, Waverley, Webster, Wilbur, Willow, Wynne, Yola, Yoshi, Yuma, Zara, Zaya, Zed, Zeke, Zelda, Zena, Zeus II, and Zoe!

Holiday Items

Cards and Calendars

Cards and CalendarsDogs with Wings has both Christmas Cards and 2017 Calendars available. The cards feature five of our amazing dogs out and about enjoying winter. The photos are winners from our 2015-2016 photo contest. A set contains 10 cards, 2 of each design, and 10 envelopes.

Our 2017 calendar is a fundraising project by long-time volunteer, Marsha Johnston. It opens to 11” X 17” and features more of our dogs at their best.

You can purchase a set of cards or a calendar for $20 at Dogs with Wings or order by phone and pay an extra $3.00 for shipping and handling. Call 780-944-8011 to get yours today.


Dog in Christmas ClothesIt may be getting cold outside, but we’ve got three wonderful reasons to bundle up and head out.
Shopping Spree & Cookie Walk!
November 17th
5-8 pm
Crestwood Community League
14325 96 Ave NW Edmonton, AB
Come browse the vendors and select a box of your favorite cookies!

Potluck Dinner – Edmonton
November 25th
6-8 pm
Crestwood Community League
14325 96 Ave NW Edmonton
Bring along your favorite dish and gather round as we share joy and laughter!

Potluck Dinner – Calgary
December 10th
5:30-8 pm
Redwood House
Redwood Meadows, AB
Celebrate the season with friends old and new, good food and good cheer!

Sporty Names

Olympic Dog TagDear DWW Walker was a celebrated visitor to six assistance dog schools across the United States this summer. While there he gifted these schools with litters of strong Walker babies. Dogs with Wings gets one puppy from each of these litters and because Walker was such a good sport, we decided to name them after the summer Olympics. DWW Rio, Archer, Polo and Maple have already arrived and are loving their new Canadian homes. There are two more puppies coming as well whose names are pending in case someone wants to sponsor them.

There are always opportunities available to sponsor a DWW dog.

Bequests and Memorial Donations

Signing a WillIn 2016, Dogs with Wings has been the beneficiary of several bequests and memorial donations. These funds have helped us tremendously to carry on our work and ensure our future.

If you are creating or updating your will, please consider including a bequest to Dogs with Wings. Share your commitment to our organization with your family members so they understand what is important to you and why. Letting your family members know what causes are closest to your heart can help them make the most meaningful choice when directing mourners where to send memorial donations.

You can find more information on bequests and memorial donations perusing this site.

We Are Listening

We’ve Got Our Listening Ears On!

Dogs in ParkOn August 16, Dogs with Wings hosted a Town Hall Meeting welcoming volunteers, stakeholders, and friends to come out and talk about the best way for the organization to move into the future. There was a wonderful turnout of committed and passionate individuals from all segments of the DWW family. We truly appreciate the comments, questions, suggestions and concerns that were brought forward.

We listened. We learned. Now we are acting. One of the primary topics was communication and we want to let everyone know that we are taking a close look at what has and has not worked in the past. Trying to come up with the best plan to meet the needs of our DWW family in the years to come will take some time, but steps are being made and you can watch for announcements coming soon.

We also heard that many of you are ready, willing and waiting for a chance to offer your unique skills, education and talents to help Dogs with Wings grow. We are working on that too and have some exciting plans for the future.

Thank you for being the solid foundation on which this organization is built and continues to grow. We are all so very strong together.

Hearts of Gold

Dog VestDogs with Wings has the outstanding good fortune of having dedicated and compassionate individuals and business leaders across our province who give from the heart to support the work that we do. These donors ensure that our lights stay on, that all of our dogs health needs are met, and that our hardworking staff are rewarded for the work they do so passionately. Our donors keep Dogs with Wings alive and growing.

A thousand thank you’s wouldn’t be enough to express our appreciation for these amazing people. Whether they publicly sponsor the cause, encouraging others to do so too, or quietly pledge their recurring support asking neither for fanfare nor privilege, all are very deeply appreciated.

We can’t share the list of everyone who has given of their treasure to Dogs with Wings in this newsletter, but we can ask that you acknowledge, and where possible support, our many business partners. Click here to visit the FRIENDS page on our website for links to over 80 of our partners.

Satisfaction Survey

Survey BoxesAs we celebrate 20 years of placing assistance dogs across Alberta, we reflect on how our services have grown and changed to meet the needs of our community. These needs continue to grow and change making it necessary for DWW to make sure we continue to move in the right direction.

We are very excited to announce a special project this summer. DWW is offering all our current client teams the opportunity to participate in a Client Impact Satisfaction Survey (CISS). Veronica Fraser, a University of Alberta student in her 4th year towards a BA in Sociology, has developed surveys specific to the programs being offered at DWW.

Brief CISS questionnaires will be sent out to all client teams and results will be complied to let us know what is working well, what can be improved and how we can make each assistance dog experience the very best it can be. Responses will be 100% confidential. If you haven’t received your questionnaire by mid-August, please call or email Veronica at 780-944-8011 or

This is the first time that DWW has conducted an impact survey for clients. The results will be used to help improve future programs and services. They will also be invaluable in providing prospective funders solid evidence of the impact assistance dogs have on family life and the steps DWW is taking to increase these benefits for families across the province.

June was BBQ Month
Girl in T-ShirtEdmonton, Calgary and Grande Prairie volunteers all had opportunities to meet, share, laugh with and celebrate each other at DWW Volunteer Appreciation Events. Thanks to ATB Financial and Gordon Foods for supporting these activities.

June 9 was the kick-off event in Edmonton with over 70 people enjoying the windy weather behind the training centre and dozens of dogs running helter-skelter all over the off leash field. It was also where the new 20th Anniversary volunteer polo shirts, courtesy of ATB Fnancial, were revealed.

June 16 saw the southern volunteers treated like visiting royalty at the ATB Campus in Calgary. They were honoured with a greeting from their host, Dave Mowat, and had fun watching the puppies romp both inside and out.

Grande Prairie volunteers gathered at Muskoseepi Park for their barbeque, enjoying the amenities at the Ernie Radbourne Pavilion. They delighted staff members Kerri Davis and Taylor Eastman with tales of the tails they have raised.

Thank you to all the volunteers for making this organization great.

Grad and E Litter

Grad Dogs in Gazebo
What an incredible event took place on Sunday, May 29. Graduation 2016 honoured 16 graduating teams, 15 of whom were in attendance. Nearly 300 guests showed up to celebrate these amazing people and their new canine assistants. Over 30 dogs, graduating, graduated and in training, enjoyed an energetic free-for-all in the courtyard of Chateau Louis Hotel and Conference Centre before all sitting quietly and attentive throughout the ceremony. Dogs RunningThe afternoon saw many tears, those of joy on hearing the stories of the graduate teams and their early successes, and those of sadness as many foster raisers said a final goodbye to the darling dogs they cared for so much.

Master of Ceremonies, John Wheelwright, welcomed everyone by offering a special tribute to our volunteers whose efforts are so truly noteworthy. He then introduced the staff of DWW satellite programs in Grande Prairie and Calgary; Rebecca Hayes Copeland, and Michelle Douglas and Kim Jeannotte, respectively. The ladies spoke about the amazing puppies that have come through their training programs and the joys of working with their incredible local volunteers.

As the graduating teams crossed the stage to receive their certificates from Director of Client Services, Elisa Irlam, and heartfelt hugs from team trainers Maria Illes and Moira Wegner, they each took a moment to express their gratitude for the gift of their assistance dog. The media was well represented at the event with television stations and daily newspapers all on hand sharing these stories.

Graduation 2016 was a spectacular event truly fitting for Dogs with Wings 20th Anniversary. It was a celebration of everyone involved: the whelping home, puppy raisers, adult raisers, our generous sponsors, training and kennel volunteers, and of course, the clients and their new assistant dogs. We offer a very special note of thanks to Paige and Ed Stahl who have generously and compassionately sponsored DWW graduations over the past several years.

Litter ‘E’ News
E LitterWelcome Litter “E”! These four beautiful yellow girls were born on May 8th at the whelping home of Charlene Johnson and family. As part of our partnership agreement in the North American Breeding Cooperative, one of the pups will be going to Bergen University in California and another to Southeastern Guide Dogs in Florida. This trading of puppies helps keep everyone’s bloodlines strong and ensures the best traits are passed along to future generations.

Charlene is just one of several very dedicated volunteers who turn their homes into sequestered puppy playgrounds for 8 weeks at a time. A new volunteer video shows some of the joys and trials of being a whelping home mom.


They’re all Dog Days

D LitterOn March 17, Dogs with Wings “D” litter was born and are growing healthy and strong with their mom, DWW Luna at their whelping home with Sherry and Andy of Edmonton. They will be getting their official names on May 9th and heading to their puppy foster homes in Calgary on May 13.

May 9th is also the day that DWW Spirit II is expected to deliver the “E” litter. Charlene Johnson of Edmonton is getting all set up to whelp this bunch.

June 7th should see DWW Gemini delivering the “F” litter at the home of Sarah & Dwayne Huisman in St. Albert.

Tell your family, encourage your friends, chat up your neighbours: Dogs with Wings needs puppy raising homes!

Volunteer application can be found by clicking here.

Safety for All is the Training
Safety CartoonThe internet is a marvelous thing. It is the most diverse outlet for the human imagination in recorded history making it the largest wealth of information, and disinformation, ever known.

Take for example, various websites offering “Instant Service Dog Registration valid in the US and Canada” and even going so far as stating that “Emotional support dogs do not have to be trained to perform any specific task. Service dogs can be trained by their owners or in any other manner the owner desires.”

Unfortunately, Dogs with Wings receives phone calls every day from people who have looked at these sites and are horribly disappointed when they find out that their recently and expensively purchased pet can’t actually be trained or identified as a service dog. Worse is when they and their pet arrive at a public location with their just-arrived-by-mail vest, identification and certificate only to be turned away and subject to a hefty fine.

The reality is that in Alberta to be a qualified service dog under the Service Dogs Act, the dog must be trained through an Assistance Dogs International (ADI) accredited school. There are eight such schools across Canada and several in the US that do serve Canadian clients. These schools will provide properly identified equipment and certificates. DWW is the only ADI accredited school located in the Prairie Provinces.

Dogs with Wings has been actively working to educate people about assistance dogs for the past 20 years. We worked with the government of Alberta to draft the Service Dog Act based on international standards that ensure both the rights of the service dog user and the safety of the public is maintained.

We count on our volunteers, clients and friends to help DWW continue to educate the public about the law in Alberta and the vital role trained assistance dogs have in the lives of those who depend on them. To learn more about the Service Dog Act you can read the entire document by clicking here, or click here to view a CTV News Video!