Dag was rushed to a local emergency clinic late last week as he wasn’t breathing normally. The vet on duty recognized the need to provide life saving interventions as he had massive amounts of fluid filling his chest impairing his ability to get oxygen around his body. Two chest tubes were placed and he required oxygen support for several days. During that time many tests were run including CT, blood work, fluid analysis, ultrasound and bacterial culture. It was determined he had a severe infection in his chest. He seemed to be responding to his treatments initially but unfortunately he took a turn for the worse Tuesday. He was immediately transferred to a surgical facility where he underwent a major surgery. The surgical team opened up his chest and found several abscesses that needed to be surgically removed. He is stable today but the primary cause of the infection and abscesses is still unknown so he will remain in ICU to monitor his recovery.
It’s with profound sadness that we must announce the passing of our hero, retired PSD Boomer #896 . Boomer was an integral part of his community and was deeply loved by his family and those who knew him. Boomer was a pillar in his community and was credited with saving many lives. Boomer was born in November 2009 in Innisfail at the RCMP Police dog Service Training Center.
From the Boomer’s family:
‘With very heavy hearts we must say goodbye to a member of our family. Boomer passed suddenly on 22-08-08. Born in November 2009, he entered training in September 2011 followed by a productive operational career in Nanaimo B.C. Boomer retired in the spring of 2018 at which time he found his true calling. Our finder of dropped snacks, watcher of wandering toddlers, road trip tag along, wedding crasher, hoarder of dog toys etc. We are truly grateful for the time he gave us and he will forever be missed.’
We are honoured to be featured on RDNews! Thank you Josh Hall for bringing awareness to our organization and the wonderful article!
Please go check out the full article here:
and make sure to give Josh a follow on Twitter!! @Vancan19
Shout out! – The Comox Valley RCMP and the Campbell River RCMP have entered into a friendly competition to see who can raise the most funds for Ned’s Wish before August 15th, 2022
The Campbell River RCMP detachment is taking their challenge to a new level! Gator’s youngest family member and her pals have already started the fun with their Lemonade and Craft Sale!!!
We also have it on good authority there is a mountain of cans and bottles to push this fundraiser over the edge!!!
Stay tuned as the two rivalry Detachments have a friendly fundraising frenzy to see who can raise the most funds for all our Retired Heroes!!!
His storied snout may now be encircled by grey fur, but Major the Toronto police dog was once the Wayne Gretzky of sniffing.
A 72-pound German shepherd–Belgian Malinois mix with a piercing caramel gaze, Major could find someone who went missing yesterday or who died 25 years ago. He could locate evidence deep underground. As a highly trained cadaver dog, he could differentiate between animal and human remains, after learning the distinct scents of organic compounds.
His nose helped make arrests and tragic discoveries, the most high-profile in January 2018, when he and fellow police dog Blue made a seismic breakthrough in the investigation into serial killer Bruce McArthur. A landscaper who killed eight men from the Gay Village, McArthur had buried his victims inside five large planters at a Leaside home, a fact discovered after the dogs “indicated” — sat next to — the containers. Until then, police hadn’t found any victims.
But at nine years old, with creaky joints and a risky heart murmur, Major hung up his police badge in November, alongside his partner-turned-owner, Sgt. Derrick Gaudet. Like Gaudet, Major is adjusting to a quiet civilian life, one that sees him pursuing backyard rabbits instead of suspects, sniffing suburban lawns near his Whitby home instead of crime scenes.
“He knows what his life is now,” Gaudet, 55, said on a recent spring day, Major glued next to him on the couch, eyes fixed on his owner. “Being a big dog in a little house.”
But unlike Gaudet, after years of service to his community, Major the dog has no pension to cover escalating health-care costs, just as veterinary bills are piling up due to aging and the wear and tear of a physical job.
Instead, when police dogs retire, many of the expenses fall to the dog owner, often the former handler. Officers typically keep the dogs due to the deep bond they’ve developed and, in some cases, the difficulty of finding a new home for a skilled but high-needs animal.
“The earlier that I retired, the more I would have to pay,” Gaudet said. “I knew that.”
Although trained police dogs have become a common part of modern Canadian forces — used in everything from missing persons investigations to homicide and drug probes to bomb calls — many police services stop covering veterinary costs the day the animals leave the force, including Toronto police, the OPP and the RCMP.
Pre-existing conditions and on-the-job injuries, meanwhile, can create sky-high rates for private insurance coverage.
In the six months since retiring, Major’s veterinary care bill has climbed north of $2,000, a combination of usual expenses — the $23-per-pill monthly flea and tick medications, pricey supplements for his ligaments and joints, a $450 annual checkup — and the unexpected. In March, Major needed surgery to remove a lump on his back that, after a costly test, was deemed benign. Weeks later, the large shaved patch from surgery was still visible (drugs he takes for irritable bowel syndrome, another expense, inhibit hair growth).
Some services provide stipends to cover some veterinary fees (Ottawa police, for instance, provides $350 a year) while others have recently moved to pitch in. In 2018, Toronto police starting buying their retired dogs food for life. The same year, Halton police began offering a $500 annual stipend. Last year, Durham Regional Police initiated a “retirement benefit plan” to help cover expenses such as vaccinations and vacation lodging.
And, just last week, Peel Regional Police told the Star it would start covering annual exams and vaccinations, and make $1,000 available each year for vet or kennelling costs.
But calls for greater financial support for police dogs, often from owners, come as services face pressure to slash budgets, and covering unpredictable and sometimes exorbitant fees for aging dogs is not likely to be a top priority for police, governments or taxpayers.
“I don’t think there’s a simple answer,” said Cynthia Otto, professor of working dog sciences and sports medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, who conducted a years-long study on the health of dogs who worked to recover victims after the 9/11 terror attacks.
Many U.S. police agencies don’t cover the veterinary costs of retired working dogs, leaving a “patchwork” of coverage, she said. In some cases, forces do fundraising for the dogs’ retirement care. Some Canadian forces, too, have set up a “canine fund,” including in Vancouver and Winnipeg; the Ontario Provincial Police said it is “exploring community partnerships” to help financially support those caring for retired dogs.
“I think there’s a heartfelt ‘Oh my gosh. We should jump out there and do everything for them.’ Yeah, I would love that, but how do we do that? And who’s responsible?” Otto said.
Just two days after she adopted Ned, a retired RCMP dog, the vet bills began piling up for former RCMP superintendent Stacey Talbot.
Talbot was never a handler, but developed a respect for police dogs as she rose through the ranks, ultimately heading Alberta’s serious and organized crime unit. She saw the dogs find hypothermic hikers in Kananaskis and protect their handlers in high-stakes standoffs — “I almost get teary-eyed when I talked about this.”
When she adopted Ned, who was trained in explosives detection, she quickly learned he was suffering from a life-threatening infection from an on-the-job leg injury and needed surgery to remove old pins. It was just the first in a series of health issues that Talbot estimated led to about $50,000 in bills before Ned died in 2016, though insurance covered a significant portion.
The experience prompted Talbot to start Ned’s Wish, a first-in-Canada charity that helps cover veterinary costs for retired police and military dogs. Registered in 2019, Ned’s Wish has enrolled more than 70 dogs from forces across Canada, each one staring out from photos on the charity’s website and social media accounts, alongside impressive biographies. Eddi caught a suspect accused of killing a 15-year-old boy while driving a stolen car. Dave found a man who’d been tortured, abducted and tied up in the woods; the victim later adopted him.
Through donations, Ned’s Wish helps foot the bill for a variety of pricey interventions, including recently shelling out $700 to help pay for the back surgery for Major, who was the first Toronto police dog to register with the charity.
“We recognized there was a gap, and we’re there to fill it,” Talbot said.
She stressed, however, that she believes police services would cover health care costs of retired animals if budgets allowed. “Even though the public says, well, ‘Why aren’t you carrying it?’ then my question is: Are you prepared to pay more tax dollars?” she said.
In a statement, Toronto police spokesperson Connie Osborne said the service acknowledges “the incredible job police dogs do every day.” On top of covering the cost of food for retired dogs for life, the service ensures there are regular checkups, including just before retirement to identify and treat any issues.
“All handlers are informed at the start of their career in K9 that if they choose to adopt the dog upon retirement, the dog is then their responsibility, including the financial element,” Osborne said.
On top of the usual costs that accompany aging, police dogs are at risk of additional health issues, including any complication from on-the-job injuries like being kicked, stabbed or, in rare cases, shot. Last year, two RCMP police dogs, Gator and Jago, died after being gunned down in separate incidents in British Columbia and Alberta, respectively.
But the No. 1 problem in aging and retired police dogs is repetitive strain, said Jason Donohoe, who has been the primary care veterinarian for Toronto’s police dog unit for over a decade. Though Donohoe says there aren’t significant health differences between police dogs and non-working dogs of the same breed (usually German shepherds, Belgian Malinois or Labrador retrievers), repetitive strain leads to joint degeneration.
“You think of a dog that’s jumping in and out of the work vehicle 20 times in a shift — I don’t even know, that may be a conservative estimate — that’s a lot of jarring,” he said, noting the strain on the dog’s elbows, shoulders, hips and spine.
“I couldn’t tell you how many fences I’ve thrown him over,” Gaudet said of Major. “I bet you hundreds.”
Police dogs may also have health issues from behavioural problems. By nature, they can be “pretty high-strung,” Donohoe said, meaning the qualities that make them good at their jobs cause challenges when you kennel them. Dogs he’s treated have developed “horrible” arthritis in one elbow from continuously circling in the kennels, a way of displacing anxiety. “That’s not an uncommon behaviour,” he said.
Major definitely “has an edge,” Gaudet said. It hasn’t led to any injury, but it does make him a highly demanding charge.
Because of his size, strength and the possibility he’d give chase, only Gaudet can take him for his three-per-day walks. He can’t be around other dogs because of the risk he could bite. He gets confused when Gaudet lets him off the leash in an empty park to run around, wondering what his task is, and follows Gaudet around the house “like a shadow,” ready to take orders.
“He’s not really a pet,” Gaudet said.
But he is part of the family, Gaudet said, as a framed photo of Major as a young pup sat prominently on a nearby coffee table. After he arrived at Toronto police, Gaudet got to name his new four-legged partner, so he honoured the original Major, his grandfather’s beloved German shepherd who Gaudet loved as a boy growing up in Nova Scotia.
There was never a question he’d take Major home when he retired, no matter the expense, and he started a savings account a few years ago just for vet bills.
“We wouldn’t give him to someone else and say, ‘Yeah, it costs too much.’”
Talbot, from Ned’s Wish, said it’s that bond that makes decisions about veterinary care more fraught for handlers. Everyone loves their pet and would do anything for them, she said. But imagine if your dog had also saved your life.
She wonders if a long-term solution could come in the form of a government agency, like Veterans Affairs, setting up a fund for service animals. There is already a federal law recognizing the special status of police and service dogs, she notes.
In 2015, the federal government passed Quanto’s Law, named after an Edmonton police dog who died after he was repeatedly stabbed by a suspect fleeing police. It sets a maximum five-year jail sentence for anyone convicted of deliberately killing a police dog or service animal.
“It’s not like we have them on the books for a long period of time,” Talbot said. “It’s all about that quality of life, as opposed to quantity.”
A day in the life of Major, the retired Toronto police dog
8 a.m. Major wakes up after a long sleep. Nights are usually uneventful, though sometimes the dog will bark if he detects something outside.
One night, after Gaudet scolded him for a midnight outburst, he checked the exterior camera. Sure enough, Major had been barking at some troublemakers outside who’d been trying to open up Gaudet’s car. “He can hear stuff outside that I can’t,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to be someone trying to break into my house.”
8:30 a.m. Major and Gaudet head out for the first of their three daily walks. The strolls are needed to substitute for the exercise Major once got on the job, and for more indelicate reasons. Major won’t do his business in the backyard, his way to guarantee a walk, Gaudet thinks.
Because of Major’s size, strength and the chance he might give chase at a squirrel or the sight of someone wearing a backpack, Gaudet is the only one in his family who can take him on the leash. They’ll walk for at least two to three kilometres each time. “I’m wearing out sneakers,” Gaudet said.
10 a.m. Major gets his breakfast and medication, then he lies around for a good few hours, Gaudet said. Because he’s a larger dog, he doesn’t want to do much after eating. He’ll find a spot on the floor or the bed to crash.
2 p.m. Major will head to the door. He knows it’s time for his afternoon walk. Gaudet might take him to a park and if no one else is around, let him off the leash. But he often needs encouragement to run, preferring to sniff around — “he just wants to find something,” Gaudet said. Major stills picks up items and brings them back to Gaudet, including scarves, gloves and hats. Among his favourite items these days: discarded masks. “They have a lot of odour on them,” he said.
3 p.m. More food, more pills, more naps. Major will sometimes crash in the family room near the TV or, now that it’s warmer, park himself outside in the shade of the backyard, which is a bit torn up from chasing rabbits.
10 p.m. Major stands up, stretches and lets Gaudet know it’s time for their night walk. “This is 365 days a year — rain, snow, sleet, doesn’t matter. I have to take him out,” Gaudet said. “Those three walks are his life.”https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2022/05/16/meet-major-he-was-a-very-good-cop-now-hes-retired-and-expensive.html
Credit: The Star
Ned’s Wish is beyond grateful to be in partnership with Support Retired Legends and K9 Coffee. Andrea, Jason, Aaron & Maya (the hoomans behind the brand) are an incredible group of people who are dedicated to honouring retired police and armed forces dogs across Canada.Support Retired Legends and K9 Coffee (SRL) most recently honoured Ned’s Wish and our “Cause for Heroes with Paws” with an incredibly generous donation of 10K!If you have not checked out supportretiredlegends.com, we encourage you to do so! Pick up some of the coolest apparel out there or order some delish coffee from K9 Coffee (or do both… we won’t judge). Then you can relax in your SRL apparel enjoying a fantastic cup of coffee, all the while supporting retired police and armed forces dogs across Canada! Bet you didn’t know you could have such a huge impact while you relax!While you check out their website, we are going to HOWL with Gratitude and give them with all the SLOPPY KISSES, TAIL WAGS and TEETHY GRINS to show them how much we love them!
The relationship between a police service dog and its master is complex and deeply bound. There needs to be trust, communication, non verbal signals, en- durance, strength, and an emotional bond between them. When you combine the dangers of the job with their relationship it takes on a bond and loyalty that goes beyond words. It is not just a job. They work, play, and live together 24/7. They take down suspected criminals, find drugs and explosives, and perform search and rescue for those lost in harsh environments. Then they come home together for rest and recuperation. With a solid partnership and deep connection they then perform heroic jobs that neither could do alone.
“Dirk” was among the first dogs to provide policing services in Canada. In to- day’s world they are the norm and have expanded into so many further uses as a result. However, in the 1960s police dog masters had an uphill task in selling the use of their dogs to detachments and their members. They had to show what they were capable of and act somewhat like a salesman and sell their ser- vices. They had to pursue files and promote their successes to higher senior management. This took years and many sleepless nights, running out at all hours, no schedule, and 24/7 work. There weren’t many dog masters per prov- ince and in B.C. they started with 2 and progressed to 5 by the 1970s. Today there are 50 teams of police service dogs with the RCMP in B.C. alone. They broke through barriers and the results spoke for themselves. They had to cover an enormous amount of geography. Some of the following are examples of those breakthroughs in the 1960s.
!Dirk” Regimental #10, bred by RCMP ex trainer Gord Teeft and trained by Les Knoll. He was raised in a family environment. Sired 2 other police dogs Brandy and Billy. He was mostly black with orange and tan markings, weighing 110 lbs. Constable R.L. Marshall commenced working with Dirk in 1966. Dirk was 1 of 5 police service dogs on duty in British Columbia at the time.
Most notably, “Dirk” was among the first police service dogs trained in searching for marijuana. On September 19, 1968 “Dirk” was assigned to be used in a vari- ety of actual situations to initiate his training in searching for marijuana. On Sept. 20, 1968 “Dirk” and Cst. Marshall accompanied members of the Drug section at the border crossing at Douglas, B.C. “for the purpose of searching suspected automobiles which might contain marijuana”. Several vehicles were searched by
!Dirk” resulting in two seizures. “Dirk” clawed vigorously at the rubber floor mat- ting which was rolled back to expose a piece of metal which Cst. Marshall re- moved and found a plastic bag containing 22 tablets of black LSD. “Dirk” further indicated there was something more hidden under the panelling of the dash-
board. At this time the !suspect” stated !it’s under the ashtray”. They recovered a pipe bowl and some burnt plant material which was analyzed to be marijuana.
Due to this new search and seizure utilizing “Dirk”, the news media, public, and authorities were favourable to launching this form of search by the drug section.
On September 26, 1968 “Dirk” accompanied drug investigators on searches of three residences. “The handling and conduct of “Dirk” was commendable. “Dirk” located a cash of 15 grams of hashish in a garage, which in all likelihood would not have otherwise been discovered”.
From that point on Cst. Marshall was to continue utilizing “Dirk” in this capacity and reporting back to the RCMP training kennels in Innisfail, Alberta so that the NCO of the kennels might be familiar with the success and diﬃculties encoun- tered. Thus the beginning of Drug search and seizures utilizing police service dogs. (Attached original documentation).
There were many criminal apprehensions for “Dirk”. One of note received a Commendation for their work apprehending an armed Criminal near Agassiz,
B.C. Cst. Marshall and “Dirk” were commended for their “courageous conduct that resulted in the criminal being apprehended immediately which no doubt prevented a more serious situation from developing due to the assistance of “Dirk”. Neither dog nor oﬃcer were harmed.
The following call demonstrates Police service dogs’ amazing abilities to retrieve all kinds of evidence and what kind of partner they truly are. July 20, 1967 “Dirk” was uti- lized on a call for Possession of a Weapon in Burnaby, B.C. When Cst. Marshall and “Dirk” attended the scene, RCMP members had 3 suspects apprehended. Upon arrival they had one .22 caliber rifle obtained. Shortly after arrival a 4th suspect appeared from the bush. Cst. Marshall recommended they be taken to the detachment to be further interviewed and he would conduct his search with the dog. Upon moving the suspects to the vehicle, one suspect made a motion to turn on Cst. Marshall, “Dirk” immediately had him by the arm, protecting his partner. Once the suspects had been removed, “Dirk” was utilized to search the area where the alleged oﬀence occurred. While searching the area “Dirk” commenced digging in the dirt bank until he retrieved a loaded revolver which was buried 10 inches below the surface. In continuing the search, Dirk located a second revolver that had been thrown into the bush. Again “Dirk” had shown his abilities to retrieve needed and hidden evidence.
After commendable service with “Dirk”, Robert Marshall received a promotion to Corporal. One of the first cases in this new title highlights the challenges police dogs face in the weather and terrain of British Columbia. It was November 1969, oﬀ the west coast of Central BC. Ed Hadgkiss and Kathy Rheum had been flying in the fall/winter and the weather was rapidly changing and became treacherous. Hadgkiss had to adjust his flight plans several times en route due to weather. As a result, he ran out of fuel and was forced to land. Ed took the plane down atop a ridge line on Roderick Island. The terrain was rocky, full of crevices and trees. The plane scraped along the rough icy terrain, flipping it over leaving it upside down next to a cliﬀ edge.
Cpl. Marshall and “Dirk” along with two other dog masters and five Air Sea Res- cue persons were brought in to an abandoned fishing cannery. They used the building as a base camp where they slept on the wooden floors and had sup- plies brought in. Each morning the police service dogs and dog masters were helicoptered to the island at the top, where they would spend an entire arduous day in treacherous terrain performing their search in winter conditions. There was upwards of 20 feet of snow in some areas, temperatures reaching -20c with
the wind, and dense brush and trees lined the entire island right to the water”s edge. There were no beaches, just rock, ice, snow, dense brush, and trees. It would take upwards of 7 hours to hike one mile.
On the first day of their search as they approached the island they saw a pack of wolves scrambling their way up to the plane. The plane lay amongst some trees upside down surrounded by cliﬀs dropping 200 feet. Upon searching the plane they found a note from the couple, stating they had set up camp but left to head
down to the water”s edge to build a fire near a shipping lane in the hopes a boat would rescue them. The team maintained their search every day going to the is- land in this tough, unforgiving environment for a week. Arriving at dawn and leaving at dusk. Unfortunately, the couple were never found. “Dirk” and Cpl.
Marshall returned the next spring attempting another search, again to find no sign of the couple.
In addition to his police service duties, “Dirk” and Cpl. Marshall were trained in Parks Canada Mountain Rescue (search and rescue). In February of 1972 the Coquitlam chapter of Search and Rescue began and “Dirk” was part of the first case to search and locate 2 teenage boys that had climbed Burke mountain into Munro Lake. The hike into Munro Lake is treacherous, with many cliﬀs and geo- graphical challenges. Tragically they were located with one of the teens not hav- ing survived. “Dirk” continued on to complete many rescues including avalanche searches until he retired.
“Dirk” was bred, raised, and trained a police dog first and foremost but he was also a family dog. Out of the three police service dogs my father had, “Dirk” was the one that fit seamlessly into our family like a sibling. He loved hanging out with us and enjoyed a good ice cream cone. He was a gentle giant at home, however, he knew his job and he did it exceedingly well. He had an ability to pivot between work and home life. For example, when my brother was 2 years old he decided to go after “Dirk” with a broom. Now under work circumstances that would have prompted “Dirk” into action to defend and take down a person, however, under family conditions “Dirk” gently grabbed my brother by the arm and pulled him from the broom. Not a mark on him.
“Dirk” rose up to all that was asked of him, he was exceptional in all he did, Search and Rescue, Drug Search and Seizure, evidence retrieval, and criminal take downs.
A heroic, loyal, gentle giant and friend.
“Dirk” Regimental #10 was decommissioned in 1971.”
We are BARKING with joy that we get to share with you the journey of our retired hero PSDClive!
Clive was born in Innisfail, Alberta, and entered into the Puppy Imprinting program with Cst. Matt Young (Cool side note… Clive started his career with Matt and ended up retiring to have Matt and his wife Leah become his Pawfect Parents! Life comes full circle, just like a good tail chase!) Clive was posted to Williams Lake, BC where he followed his nose around Central and Northern BC with his sidekick Cpl.Gord Rutherford. Clive, being the tracking extraordinaire he is, was involved in the tracking and rescue of a senior with Alzhiemers who had wandered from their home and gotten lost in the middle of winter. Once Clive and handler Gord located him, they carried him out of the area in deep snow to safety. Clive knew at that moment, saving a life was even cooler than catching criminals!
Clive was medically retired due to some spinal issues, which has caused him to have a weak hind end and impaired hind legs. This has affected his mobility, but it hasn’t slowed him down much, as you will notice in his pictures! He was also diagnosed with Pannus which is an eye disease that can cause blindness when not well controlled Often working dogs have to be retired due to the progression of this disease. Although not a cause for retirement, Clive was also diagnosed as having a malfunctioning thyroid a few years back.
Recently Clive has had a few medical setbacks which we don’t like to hear about at Ned’s Wish, but are grateful to be able to support him and his family. He was recently diagnosed with early kidney disease and his family was in the process of figuring out the best management to slow down this chronic progressive disease when he was hospitalized for dehydration due to a stomach bug. He seemed to bounce back after his excellent vet care with Dr. Jenny Thompson, but unfortunately that wasn’t the end of his worries. Despite him feeling almost back to normal, he had a scheduled abdominal ultrasound to see if there was an underlying reason for his tummy upset. The ultrasound revealed a mass sitting on his spleen. It is highly likely this is a cancerous mass given his age and breed. It would be called a Splenic Hemangiosarcoma. His family has decided to not pursue aggressive treatment including surgery and chemotherapy, instead opting to enjoy every healthy moment with him, for as much time as that may be.
Even with all of that happening, Clive has the world by the TAIL! Since his retirement, he has been enjoying PAWSH stays at the Fairmont Hotel in Vancouver, Seattle & Whistler. Clive signals for his welcome cookie by placing his paws on the counter, waits for room service to deliver his bed (even if it’s two sizes too small) and convinces the shuttle driver to let him hangout in his BMW!
Clive has also been seen sporting his life jacket all around Okanagan Lake enjoying a good swim, or nesting over his toys like a chicken with an egg!
Clive brings so much joy to everyone and loves to travel everywhere meeting new friends along the way! We know Clive is so grateful to enjoy his retirement as pain free as possible!Enjoy your retirement Clive! Your bravery and loyalty will not be forgotten!!
Brando is a social dude, and one of his favourite things is to develop relationships with all the people he meets along the way. Brando’s family told us he wanted to thank three of those special people who made his stay in Calgary that much more fun.
First up, Brando wants to give a huge shout out to our very own VP, Tatiana Alexanian. She showed up nearly every day Brando was in treatment to take him on walks… most times more than once! She gave Brando a chance to get out of the clinic environment for a brain break to go sniff things, pee on stuff, and to just be a dog. Those walks really helped Brando’s mental health during treatment, and helped him miss his family just a little less. She also sent a treasure trove of photos and videos from those walks to Brando’s mom, which greatly eased her mind knowing that Brando was getting exercise and love while he was away. Brando’s biggest thanks to Tatiana however, is for his beautiful plush hedgehog that he loves more than even food. Brando has a bit of an obsession with hedgehog stuffies, and likes to carry them on his walks, but had to take a break from them post surgery until his incision healed well enough to be able to bite, crunch, and suck on his favourite toy. Because of this, his mom didn’t pack any of his house hogs for his trip to Calgary. So when Tatiana showed up with a brand new one after he was cleared by his neurologist, IT. MADE. HIS. LIFE. His mom tells us that Brando STILL hasn’t put the hedgehog aside, has carried it on every walk since he’s been home, and also uses it as a pillow when he sleeps!
Next, remember Dr Stephanie Maloney from our post on initial diagnosis? Well, Brando sure does! Dr Maloney was in Calgary just after Christmas, and took time out of her busy schedule to visit Brando and check on how he was doing. As you can see from the photo, Brando was very happy to see his old friend, and thank her for being such an instrumental part of his journey through meningioma. It sure takes a special vet to fly across the country to see a former patient and give him a snuggle!
Brando insisted a direct quote be used for this third thank you: “to nice lady who do doggy Uber home to mom after grad, you gib good bacon snack, allow doggo naps on da consoles, and gib best ear scritches. Much wuv, Brando.” Brando’s mom tells us the nice lady was none other than her friend Steph Gratton… thank you Steph for getting Brando back to his family!
Brando, his mom, and all of us here at Ned’s Wish are very grateful to have such fantastic human beings on Brando’s side through his illness!
On January 7, our retired hero Brando completed his radiation treatment and was cleared to come home for good. His mom was working and unable to come pick him up, but a few friends, including the wonderful Ned’s Wish VP Tatiana Alexanian, and Dr Sweet’s team were able to put together a special graduation ceremony for Brando before he came home.
Brando was pretty proud of himself, and he KNOWS he can rock a hat and tie, so was very happy for all the attention and excitement.
Dr Sweet and her team at VCA Canada Animal Hospitals were such great supports during Brando’s radiation, and even provided him a graduation gift when they sent him home. From Brando’s mom: “Dr Sweet and her team truly cared for Brando, which was evident in how he responded to seeing them at every drop off, and in all the special care he received. They gave me daily updates, and were always available to me on the weekends and during his Christmas week to monitor how he was doing and deal with any side effects that came up. They clearly love animals, and knowing I had them in Brando’s corner made being away from him for his treatment much more manageable.”