VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The BC & Alberta Guide Dogs Association has named two of its newest puppies after Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
The adorable new recruits are named Bonnie and Henry in honour of the top doctor’s efforts amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“As we sat there watching these puppies being born, we realized we were in such a different time with COVID. We both had masks on, the whole bit, we both kind of looked at each other and went, ‘Wow, we need to name two puppies to honour how Bonnie Henry has gotten us through this crisis,” Linda Thornton, the director of breeding and puppy raising, recalls.
Meet "Bonnie" and "Henry." These are soon-to-be guide dogs from BC & Alberta Guide Dogs named after BC's top doctor. "….It is an honour to have two such adorable namesakes. Taking a moment to appreciate the joy of two little puppies is so welcome," says DBH. pic.twitter.com/NWoyDCFjOd
— Sonia Aslam (@SoniaSAslam) September 30, 2020
She says she and her colleagues listen to Henry’s updates every time they’re on, and that the PHO has been able to keep everyone “calm and steady.”
Bonnie and Henry are now just over four weeks old right now. They’ll stay with their mom until they’re seven to eight weeks old, after which time they’ll be sent on their way to begin training.
“Bonnie is actually going to go to a puppy raiser here in Vancouver and we’re going to put her on a sponsorship program so people will be able to follow how she grows up,” Thornton explains. “Henry is going to the Island, and we feel that is a fitting place since Bonnie Henry lives over there.
“So, hopefully, we’ll be able to have an in-person meeting with him,” Thornton adds.
The puppies will stay with their “puppy raisers” until they’re at least 14 months old before they start what’s described as advanced training to become a working dog.
Guess what? It's Birth Announcement time! ???? Nothing like a healthy, happy litter of 10 puppies to bring cheer to your day. The lovely Penny (& Felix) had 8 boys and 2 girls last week – all doing well. ????
Dogs that pass their advanced training can go on to fill three types of roles. Thornton says the dogs can be trained to help people who are visually impaired, young children who have profound autism, or can even become an Operational Stress Injury/PTSD Service dog for RCMP and military veterans, or even first responders.
Aside from being helpful, the dogs are also very cute. Thornton hopes the puppies can help spread some “pawsitivity.”
“We just want to honour her with that Bonnie and Henry, because I think she has done an amazing job. And, you know, there’s been bad press about all the crappy things happening to her right now, so it’d be nice to have something positive.”
The puppies have already caught Henry’s attention.
“It is an honour to have two such adorable namesakes,” Henry says. “I would like to extend my warmest wishes for the continued success of your organization during what has been a difficult time for all of us. Taking a moment to appreciate the joy of two little puppies is so welcome.”
-With files from Jon Szekeres