Introducing Ortona…

Article / June 6, 2016

 “There is nothing quite like watching a big, tough soldier get all mushy over a puppy,”  said Captain Donna Riguidel, 3rd Canadian Division Support Base (3 CDSB) Edmonton, Public Affairs Officer and newly minted puppy-raiser for National Service Dogs (NSD).

In early May, Captain. Riguidel accepted the joyful responsibility of raising future Service Dog, Ortona, alongside her duties of Garrison Public Affairs. With the support of her chain of command, Ortona is a big hit.

 “Service Dogs are becoming a common sight in society writ large; anything we can do to help educate the Defence Team members about these animals is a positive step towards better understanding and cohabiting,”  said Colonel Stephen Lacroix, 3 CDSB Commander.  

The Province of Alberta, under The Service Dogs Act, allows “Service Dogs in Training” the same rights and access as fully trained Service Dogs, as long as the program is part of Assistance Dogs International (ADI). NSD is currently the only such program with a training stream for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. All Service Dogs for NSD are given to those in need free of any initial charge – their dogs are sponsored. Ortona, named after a town in Italy where both the Loyal Edmonton Regiment and 3 PPCLI won a momentous Second World War battle, was sponsored by Wounded Warriors Canada.

 “He’s really very relaxed and adapts well to every situation so far, except for a few barks in one meeting, he’s fitting in seamlessly,”  Captain Riguidel said. The plan right now for Ortona is to go on to be a PTSD Service Dog, but it all comes down to the assessment after the 18 months of Puppy Raising. He could also qualify for the Autism stream.

Ortona spends most of his days either going out to companies, schools, organizations and events, or just visiting around the base, and anywhere else across Canada. Ortona has been pretty relaxed with ever new adventure we’ve given him.

 “So far, he's blending in very well, except more people are stopping by my Public Affairs Officer's desk for visits,” said Colonel Lacroix.

If you would like to follow his adventures, or invite him out, please go to:

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