Around 200 people and numerous four-legged friends came out to Douglas Park on Sunday for the Day to Heel event, to honour the six dogs who died of heat exhaustion when stuck in the back of a dog walker’s truck on a hot day in May.
At the ceremony, it was announced that newly-born B.C. Guide Dogs puppies will carry the names of the six dogs that died. The B.C. Guide Dog association is waiting for one more puppy, a lab/border collie cross, to be born so it can be named Salty.
Salty, a border collie that also died that day, was the dog walker’s ex-husband’s canine. It’s believed the dog was their son’s dog and was in the woman’s care at the time.
The accused’s ex-husband was at the ceremony and received a puppy ultrasound of the to-be-born guide puppy, confirmed Kevin Woronchak, owner of Until We Meet Again pet memorials and organizer of Sunday’s ceremony. Alternatives Funeral also put on the event.
Woronchak and his wife had pet blankets made with each of the dogs silk screened on them and given to each of the owners.
“The families were so touched by the day,” said Woronchak.
The owners of Pet Finders, the pet detective couple who originally helped look for the dogs, were also at the ceremony. The pair were brought in to search when dog walker Emma Paulsen reported the dogs to be stolen from Brookswood off-leash park. The couple are credited for getting Paulsen to allegedly confess that the dogs died and she dumped them in a ditch. They also encouraged her to go to police.
Last week, B.C. SPCA confirmed that they recommended charges of six counts of animal cruelty to Crown counsel.
Bumper stickers with the words “heat exhaustion kills” and the dogs’ pictures on it were handed out as well.
“The three big reasons we did this was to honour the dogs, thank the community of Langley for their help and create awareness about keeping our pets safe,” Woronchak said. “I am also a firefighter as well and I have noticed more calls over the radio for dealing with dogs left in hot cars. We need awareness about this.”