Sunday , 22 May 2022

Odie to Celebrate 2 Yrs, in Bonnyville, Bringing Comfort to Victims

Bonnyville Victim Services dog Odie has been helping the community, aiding those affected by crime, tragedy, or loss for nearly two years. Every day may be different for the service dog, but each day is similar in one way, the positive impact Odie makes on a person. Victim Services, is ran out of the RCMP Detachment in various communities, Bonnyville is not only fortunate enough to have this service, but also have a specially trained dog, Odie.

Odie’s hanlder, Debbie Winstone, says that the day begins in the morning with Odie greeting members of the RCMP and Victim Services, “when we arrive in the morning his first order of business is to go and say ‘good morning’ to everyone on shift.” Debbie and Odie usually have a good idea of what may be in store for the day, though that changes from day-to-day, “we can be in court, out in the community or here in the office.”

If Odie is in the office for the day there are lots for him to do, explains Debbie, “While in the office he can be sitting in on interviews that the RCMP are doing, or supporting people who come in. He has a special talent for seeking out people who need him and will generally curl up near or on their feet. I have actually had someone tell me that as soon as he had placed himself on her feet she felt a calmness come over her.” The comfort Odie brings often helps people move past the pain of crime, tragedy, or loss.

“Odie is a familiar site in the court now, where he will support child witnesses while waiting to testify and then accompany them on the witness stand to lend support while they are actually testifying,” says Debbie. It’s unique to have Odie be able to provide this service and has proven to be very helpful in assisting witnesses or victims with getting through the emotional toll of court.

There are services outside of crime that Odie provides, for example, Debbie says he’s known to visit hospitals and schools. “Odie goes to long-term care at the hospital once a month and visits some of the residents there. He will also accompany RCMP members on presentations in the community as well.”

Odie is such a special member of Victim Services that the RCMP have organized a fun hockey game in his honour, Odie’s Challenge Cup. Members of the RCMP Detachment will be taking on high school students in a fun, lunch-hour hockey game next Tuesday at the RJ LaLonde arena. The game is free, but they will be collecting donations from those who can give, in leu of admission to the game. The RCMP Detachments says community members can donate a non-perishable food donation for the local food bank or a cash donation to Victim Services.

Odie’s own action figure will be for sale at the game, explains Debbie, “Odie now has a small stuffed dog that has been made and that is given to children that he comes in contact with either here in the office or in the court system.” They will also be available for community members to buy as well, “Buy an Odie, Give an Odie”. When someone purchases one for $10, another one is donated or given to a child that Odie is assisting. The stuffies will be available at Doggy Stylin’, Bonnyville, or at the RCMP Detachment/Victim Services office. They will also be available at the hockey game on February 9th. Game starts at 12:00 pm.

Odie Chalenge 2


About Jena Colbourne

Jena Colbourne is the owner of Connected Media Inc. o/a Lakeland Connect. As a founding member of the Lakeland Connect team, Jena oversees the content creation of the website and its social media presence. Armed with a marketing, management and communications background Jena enjoys the creative aspects of Lakeland Connect, as such she is able to navigate the online world with ease.

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