Representatives for Canadian Natural Resources presented a cheque for $2500 to Bonnyville Victim Services that will go towards supporting their two service dogs, Odie and newcomer Romeo.
The support includes food, medical insurance, shots, and amenities such as beds for the two dogs.
Earlier this year, Victim Services revealed that Odie, their service dog of six years, would slowly begin entering retirement and Romeo would begin assuming the elder lab’s duties.
“The goal for Odie is for him to work until he’s ten years old, so we’re hoping he’s going to make it there,” said Victim Services employee Debbie Winstone. “Right now, he picks and chooses when he comes to work, but the plan is for Romeo to take over the hard jobs while Odie will handle the PR side of things.”
Since arriving at the detachment in 2014, Odie has played a vital role in comforting victims during interviews, sitting through long court proceedings, and making appearances for public events.
Meanwhile, Odie’s partner, two-year-old black lab Romeo, arrived at the detachment in March.
While he has a bit of a ways to go before he’s ready to take on the job of a service dog in full, his trainers are confident that given time he’ll fall into the roll.
“Right now, Romeo’s just getting settled into the office full time,” said Connie Chileen. “He’s been to court a few times in our soft room, but he hasn’t yet had the opportunity to support some victims on the stand, but that’s going to be coming up soon for him.”
Both Odie and Romeo were trained by Dogs With Wings, an organization based out of Edmonton specializing in training service dogs, and is recognized internationally as a leader in the field.
Odie will be in active duty for another two years before he’s fully retired, having spent the majority of his life on the job.