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Petey the Dog Nominated by Bear Creek Funeral Home

CIA Petey

It’s not uncommon to see volunteers and their therapy dogs visiting senior homes, hospitals and care centres, helping ease the pain and loneliness the residents and patients face there.  A new growing trend is finding these animals in funeral homes helping those dealing with the loss of a loved one and easing the stress of planning the final arrangements and saying goodbye.  At Bear Creek Funeral Home, located here in Grande Prairie, this role is filled by their resident comfort dog Petey.

Over a year ago, Doug and Eunice Friesen, the owners of Bear Creek Funeral Home were thinking about getting a dog but with opening a new business and working long hours it did not seem possible.  Then the idea struck that if they could find the right canine, the animal could not only enrich their home life but also help benefit the grieving customers at work. Upon a visit to the SPCA they found a Staffordshire-Terrier mix, who seemed to match what they were looking for.  After having SPCA staff bring him out to the reception area at the shelter to see how he acted with strangers coming and going.  The Friesens saw he had the right personality and was perfect for both their home and organization so they decided to adopt Petey.

Read more: Caught in the Act - Petey the Dog

Meg Archer and Molly - Nominated By St. John Ambulance

ciaMegMolly9 years ago, while grocery shopping at Safeway, Meg Archer noticed a St. John Ambulance poster looking for Therapy Dog volunteers.  Looking for a way to give back to her community and believing her dog Molly would be perfect for Therapy Dog, she contacted St. John Ambulance.  After a handler only orientation and then evaluation of herself and Molly, they qualified to be part of the program and the duo started volunteering. The program varies across Canada, based on community need and the availability of volunteers. Therapy Dogs and their handlers with St. John Ambulance in our area normally offer comfort and companionship to the sick, lonely and those in need of a friendly visit at senior residences and care home facilities.

Read more: Caught in the Act - Meg A. & Molly

Rod Rutberg - Nominated By Suicide Prevention Resource Centre

Rod Rutberg Caught in the ActRod Rutberg is a family man and recently retired from being the Safety Team Leader at the Grande Prairie Weyerhaeuser.  Early in his career Rod struggled with bouts of depression, he tried to hide his problems and fix the way he felt by using alcohol and eventually he became a serious alcoholic.  Luckily Rod realized he needed help and joined Alcoholics Anonymous and is now in recovery, but according to Rod many others are not as fortunate.  Looking to help others like himself, Rod helped found the ‘Men at Risk” program with the Suicide Prevention Resource Centre in 1999, and has been an integral part of the program since.

Read more: Caught in the Act - Rod Rutberg

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