The article this week is the third in a series of recognizing dog-related charities.
If you follow my weekly articles, you will understand not just how much I love dogs but how much I respect them for how they help us humans. The charity I am featuring this week, “Bernie’s Buddies”, was created as a recognition to a very special dog named, yes you guessed it, Bernie. Having been left on the streets of Calgary as a young 4 month old St Bernard puppy, Bernie caught a very lucky break when she was rescued by Angela Blenkhorne, who I had the privilege of meeting a few years ago. It didn’t take Angela long to realize that Bernie was deaf and, as such, communication and training would have to take a different format. This Angela achieved, with the help of her veterinarian, through hand signals. Despite her deafness, Bernie clearly loved being around people and remained a very happy dog until she passed in 2017. Shortly after Bernie passed, a new dog came into Angela’s life when she adopted Brisk, a chocolate coloured Newfoundland: a gentle giant. Brisk assumed the mantle from Bernie and, after training to become a therapy dog with Community Therapy Dogs, became Angela’s right hand girl in Bernie’s Buddies.
Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Angela lost her father at age 14 and recognized that there was little support structure for teens who were grieving the loss of a loved one. So, after moving to Calgary, she became driven to try and remedy that situation, culminating in the creation of “Bernie’s Buddies”, which combined Angela’s passion for helping young adults with the therapy provided by Bernie.
Angela’s interest in providing alternative grief resources has led to her continued education through grief workshops and seminars, and study about trauma’s effect on childhood development. She also presents on the need for awareness of and access to alternative bereavement resources at youth mental health conferences, community organizations, support groups, corporations and schools.
Focused on young adults and children in Calgary, workshops target 6-17 year olds (grouped by age) and like to max out participation at 4-5 kids, believing that low numbers help create the right environment for kids to feel supported in their grief journeys.
In order to support its activities, “Bernie’s Buddies” accepts art supplies as well as cash donations. If you would like to make a cash donation, please donate via CanadaHelps, which can be accessed via the websitewww.berniesbuddies.ca . To get more information regarding other forms of donation or more information in general, please email “Bernie’s Buddies”firstname.lastname@example.org
“Bernie’s Buddies” is a volunteer run charity that received Registered Charity status from the Canada Revenue Agency in 2015 (charity # 80458 0173 RR0001).