PADS Gaia: Canuck Place’s Newest TEAM MEMBER

PADS Gaia started her new job at Canuck Place Children’s Hospice in Vancouver as an Accredited Facility Dog. She will be supporting the care of children with life-threatening illnesses.

Gaia works alongside two handlers, nurse Brenda Dewar and nurse practitioner, Camara Van Breemen, who began training last fall. While they will mainly be working out of the Vancouver hospice, Gaia and her team will also be providing her unique talents to support patients at the Dave Lede House in Abbotsford. She’ll also be supporting patient care in their homes or during hospital consults.

With all these locations and patients, Gaia will be a busy dog bringing joy and care to everyone she meets. She’s already become a crucial part of the team at Canuck Place and much beloved by all the children and staff.

Gaia, who is a yellow Labrador-Retriever cross, was always a special puppy, and as she grew and went into advanced training, we knew that she was going to bring a lot of love and comfort to her future placement. We want to thank the Jolly family as well as Catherine McLaughlin and Ian Mitchell for their amazing work in raising Gaia. Their work in such a foundational time in Gaia’s life set her up for success in advanced and team training.

Once her team training started in November 2020 with Dewar and Van Breemen, it quickly became clear that they were a natural team. All three of them put in a lot of hard work during the training and as they began work at Canuck Place. This is always a big transition for dogs (as well as handlers!), and we are so proud of how well Gaia has taken to her role as an accredited facility dog.

With Gaia becoming a new member of the Canuck Place family, we are also remembering the great work of Poppy, who worked at Canuck Place for eleven years and passed away due to cancer in November 2018. Though they never met, Gaia and Poppy share more than just the same workplace – they also share the special bond of starting life in the home of Catherine and Ian. 

We’re so proud of Gaia for continuing Poppy’s legacy of providing unconditional love and support to a whole community of children.

Thank you to the whole team of amazing people that supported Gaia in this incredible journey.