Wagging tails and stealing athletes' hearts!

By Carla Oliveira

During the Games, athletes can relax at the athletes' village with the help of the St. John’s Ambulance therapy dogs. Here are three who met with the media today.

My name is Hank.  

I’m a six year old English mastiff and I weigh 240 lbs. Today, I met a softball player from Team Manitoba. I’m used to meeting people, but this is my first time working at a sporting event. I spend most of my time with seniors in a retirement home and sometimes at the airport getting to know travellers. A couple of times a month, I work at a local school. I like going to school because the students read to me. I think the Canada Summer Games will be a lot of fun. Shaye Kemball, the athlete I met today, says that she especially loves big dogs like me. Actually, it was love at first sight for both of us!

Hank the English Mastiff, a therapy dog at the Athletes` Village

Hello! I’m Tanner.  

I’m a border collie, eight years old and very sociable. I go to school every day with my handler Claire Mackay. She’s a school counsellor and resource teacher. She’s a bit jealous because people usually greet me before her, but I’m actually her secret weapon! Children are much more talkative and willing to share their feelings when I’m around. I’m used to attending all kinds of different events, but this is my first time at the Canada Games. In the past, I've worked at flu vaccination clinics, at the Santa Claus parade, and have visited people at the Grace Hospital and Ronald McDonald House.

Tanner the Border Collie, a therapy dog at the Athletes` Village

Hi, I’m Oreo.

I'm a Pomeranian and I can’t wait to go to the athlete’s village.  I'll work there during week two of the Games.  It'll be my first time working with young athletes, as I usually visit elderly people. People love me because I’m so little and cute, and it’s easy for them to pick me up in their arms. No kidding! Jeff Hnatiuk, the CEO of the Canada Summer Games Host Society chose me to help him at the press conference today. I stole the show!

Oreo the Pomeranian, a therapy dog at the Athletes` Village