Dogs with Wings seeks volunteers to raise new litter
A new litter of puppies has been bred for Dogs With Wings, a society that trains the animals to offer assistance for people with disabilities.
Years ago the society lacked enough dogs to handle their long waiting list, but now they need volunteers to raise them while they're trained.
"I see cute puppies, too, but I also see a future," Maria Illes, the director of training, told CBC News as she showed off the rolly-polly newbies. "I see one day those dogs will be on graduation stage, sitting nicely and calmly beside somebody, and ready to help any time they need to."
The puppies won't have to wait long to get their new homes once they complete two years' training in Grande Prairie.
"Every single day we a get phone call from somebody asking 'can you help me with a dog?' Illes said last week.
Not all dogs make the grade. Before they are sent to a new home, they must show they can't be easily distracted, but can be focused on their owners' needs.
"Our dogs are partners for our clients," Illes said. "They work as a team. They're a really big part of people's lives."
Three of the litter of five Labs were born in Darlene Pacholok's home, who described the experience as "a lack of sleep, a lot of laundry, but a lot of love.It's been amazing."
Parting with the puppies two months after their birth was bittersweet for Pacholok.
"Knowing that they're going to be continuing on and looking into the future and big part of the future, it's all worth it," she said. "Every little bit of it."