Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry met with two familiar faces, guide dogs in training Bonnie and Henry, at B.C.’s Ministry of Health office on Wednesday (April 20).
The two yellow Labradors had begun training with BC and Alberta Guide Dogs as puppies at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, so choosing their namesake was easy, said Mattias Lenz, manager of puppy raising for BC and Alberta Guide Dogs.
The siblings were placed with volunteer puppy raisers for seven and-a-half weeks. During that time, Henry came to visit Dr. Henry at the ministry every few months.
“He used to be such a rambunctious puppy, and I thought he’d never calm down,” Dr. Henry remarked of Henry the dog, adding he’s become much calmer following his basic training. “He’s part of our team. It’s been such a positive thing for us through those two years. I can’t believe he’s off to advanced training now.”
Bonnie and Henry begin the next stage of training on April 27 along their path of potentially becoming working dogs. Following six months of advanced training, it will be determined whether each will be a registered guide dog, autism support dog, or support dog for those with PTSD.
It takes two years and upwards of $35,000 to produce one certified dog, which is provided free of charge to the recipient, according to BC and Alberta Guide Dogs. For these reasons, the organization relies heavily on public donations.
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