See Spot Help Others to See

By Paul, Alexandra | Winnipeg Free Press, February 27, 2018 | Go to article overview

See Spot Help Others to See


Paul, Alexandra, Winnipeg Free Press


With the gentlest of gestures, Joycie reached up and gave her benefactor a kiss and snuggled contentedly into his arms.

With that, car dealer and philanthropist Jim Gauthier met the Labrador retriever, who is part of the first litter of pups the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) will train as guide dogs in a new national program.

Gauthier donated $50,000 for the training and care of the nine-week-old pup in honour of his late wife, Joycie Gauthier, who loved animals. The pup arrived a week ago with five other litter mates, one of whom is also being trained in Winnipeg. The others flew to Halifax.

“I thought she was a doll. She’s very, very pretty and very well behaved,” said Gauthier, who met Joycie (named after his late wife) for the first time Monday at the Winnipeg home of her foster mom.

“I always said to our family, there but for the grace... go us. To make a donation to support the dog program is, well, it’s close to the heart,” Gauthier said.

Lorraine Rempel, along with another puppy mommy in the city, were selected from 800 applicants who offered to give the Labs a home for the first year of their lives.

“I don’t usually win lotteries,” Rempel chuckled before placing Joycie into Gauthier’s lap. “That will be the only time she’s allowed on the sofa,” she added, as she watched the “Big Guy” and little dog cuddle on her couch.

As foster parents, Rempel has a list of dos and don’ts from a two-day CNIB training program in advance of the puppies’ arrival in Canada. No playing fetch and no jumping on furniture top the list of don’ts.

CNIB secured the six pups from a breeder-geneticist in Australia to be the first guide dogs in the program, which is being soft-launched in Winnipeg, Halifax and Toronto. …

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