• Myrna Driedger

Hosting a very special guest at the Legislature

Article published in The Metro

Animals are amazing companions. There are many hard-working service animals that make their human’s life better every day. Therapy animals aid those feeling anxious or nervous. Charleswood is lucky to be home to one of Winnipeg’s more famous dogs, Rusty. Rusty is a dog with an incredibly important job. His owners, George and Linda Ames, are Charleswood residents. 

George and Rusty are welcome guests at the St. Boniface Hospital and spend three days every week there. Rusty has his own hospital pass and wears glasses. He is calm, friendly, and very sweet. At the young age of 15, Rusty is working as hard as ever to make hospital patients’ stay a good experience. For many people, a hospital visit is at times nerve-wracking. Many people, young and old, experience anxiety as they enter this environment. With Rusty and George on standby in the Everett Atrium three days a week, patients are able to relax, cheer up, and reduce their anxiety. 

As a former nurse I know how important it is for patients to be able to de-stress. Mental health is something that can be a factor leading patients to the hospital in the first place, and unfortunately, it is something that can come about when patients are in the hospital. 

A group of doctors at the St. Boniface Hospital wanted to show their appreciation for Rusty and all the good that he does so they commissioned a portrait to be done. It looks amazing. This portrait now hangs in the hospital as a tribute to all the good that Rusty has done over the course of his decade spent at the St. Boniface Hospital. 

George and Rusty have also been honoured with a Senate 150 medal celebrating their volunteerism and hard work. 

I had the privilege of hosting at the legislature Rusty, George and Linda Ames, and two of the doctors who worked to have the portrait of Rusty commissioned. What a good dog! 

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