Manitoba

New Hero takes on job of Rusty, the glasses-wearing therapy dog

A new pup is about to fill the shoes, or paws rather, of Winnipeg’s most beloved therapy dog.

George Ames says his new dog has very kind, calm demeanor — just like Rusty

The owner of Rusty, the well-known therapy dog who comforted patients and staff at St. Boniface Hospital, has adopted a new dog, Hero, to take up Rusty's work. (Rusty the Therapy Dog/Facebook)

A new pup is about to fill the shoes, or paws rather, of Winnipeg's most beloved therapy dog. 

The glasses-wearing hospital therapy dog Rusty died in February, after retiring from his 10-year post at St. Boniface Hospital in November.

His owner, George Ames, decided to look for another dog with Rusty's calm temperament who could take up Rusty's work, comforting patients and hospital staff. He posted an ad on Kijiji a few weeks ago, looking for a dog that might be suitable, and got a response from a woman in the Selkirk area who breeds Siberian huskies. 

"She said, 'Come meet Hero. If you think he's right for you, he's yours,'" Ames said. 

Ames said he could tell right away that Hero had the kind and calm demeanour he was looking for in a new dog.

"He is so gentle, wants to be loved. And when we put the Rusty glasses and name tag and scarf on him, he just stood so still, and I said we have a new Rusty dog and his name is Hero."

The part-time breeder, who had planned to keep Hero, gave Ames the dog for free, he said.

Hero is already very well-trained, Ames said, and he thinks the four-year-old dog could start doing therapy work right away. 

Owner George Ames says Hero has a very calm demeanor that will make him well-suited to being a therapy dog. (Rusty the Therapy Dog/Facebook)

"Plus his natural temperament is a huge asset. I just think there are some dogs that are possibly very difficult to train at this level, and he is just a gift."

He's planning to take his new pup into hospitals once Hero is certified and the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

With files from Meaghan Ketcheson

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now