Langley puppy mill dog turns hero

‘I literally hum with happiness as I take Emily on walks,’ says Emily’s new owner Chris Ness

Emily, the Bernese Mountain dog seized with 65 other dogs from a puppy mill in Langley, is now spending her days as a therapy dog.

Emily earned this year’s BC SPCA Animal Hero Award at the society’s annual awards ceremony, held in Richmond on May 5.

When local lawyer Chris Ness adopted Emily she was extremely nervous and scared at first, as well as emaciated and anaemic.

Emily was rescued during one of the largest puppy mill seizures in Canadian history in Langley last February.

SEE STORY: SPCA Seizes 66 Dogs

When she arrived at the SPCA Vancouver shelter, Emily was skittish and traumatized. But a local lawyer, Chris Ness, knew with one look at at the dog that the pair were meant to be together.

Now the gentle dog is helping others in her community as a therapy dog with St. John Ambulance. Ness says she has come a long way from the anxious animal he met while volunteering as a dog walker for the Vancouver BC SPCA Branch.

“I hum now. I literally hum with happiness as I take Emily on walks, usually ‘My Girl.’

“Emily is like sunshine on a rainy day. I have not hummed since I was a small child,” Ness said.

After finding pet-friendly housing, and with the support of his sister and her family, Ness decided to adopt Emily. He said she didn’t know how to play when he first took her home.

“The first day she didn’t eat or drink anything… she learned I liked it when she sat down, so she would sit down every 10 seconds even while outside on walks,” Ness says.

Gradually, Emily stopped flinching at sudden movement and learned to run and play.

“Setting the stage for Emily to succeed and then seeing her overcome her obstacles has been incredibly rewarding – seeing her experience pure joy as she runs around the park or beach is the greatest reward,” Ness said.

Noticing Emily enjoyed meeting strangers, Ness realized her gentle, friendly approach and excellent behaviour made her a strong therapy dog candidate, and enrolled in the St. John Ambulance therapy dog program, where Emily excelled. She is now a regular visitor to seniors living in care facilities.

“She creates lots of smiles and brightens many peoples’ days – as is her way,” Ness said.

“Once Emily has enough experience and passes the next level of evaluation, we hope to visit the kids at BC Children’s Hospital and cancer treatment facilities.”

Ness said he’s looking forward to her therapy dog journey and can’t imagine his life without her.

“I fell head over heels in love with Emily. The day I found out the adoption was approved was the happiest day of my adult life,” he says. “She has come so far and we’re all so proud of her.”

Just Posted

VIDEO: Celebrity Christmas Toy and Food Drive held for hope and recovery

Andy Bhatti offered Vancouver Canuck autographs and a Thai rehab trip at annual Murrayville event

LETTER: Langley apartment fire leaves 68-year-old homeless

A Villa Fontana resident says she has to start over because of the fire

Walking through Langley on Christmas Day

Volkssport Club plans a holiday hike

VIDEO: Filling needs by filling an ambulance

Annual Langley donation drive by Kims Angels draws a generous response

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

Pacioretty scores 2, Golden Knights top Canucks 6-3

Vegas goalie Fleury gets win No. 452

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Surrey councillor wants the policing transition process to ‘immediately stop’

Brenda Locke to make motion at Dec. 16 meeting to reconsider current plan

Man pleads guilty to second-degree murder in 2017 Stanley Park stabbing

Lubomir Kunik was found by a man out walking his dog on the beach late on Feb. 1, 2017

Vancouver homeless camp brings community, safety, home, says resident

Encampment in the city’s Downtown Eastside is one of many that have sprung up in B.C.

Most Read