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Julien and his Buddy Dog, Victor, are laying next to each other on Victor’s dog bed on the floor. Victor’s paw is on Julien’s back; Julien is sitting on his father’s lap to the left of his baby sister sitting on his mother’s lap. Victor is laying on the floor in front of the four of them.

Children with CNIB Buddy Dogs: Julien & Victor

“Since I was matched with Victor in September 2021, I love that I have a special friend in him and someone I can always cuddle or play with. At first, I was worried that he would jump on me, but I soon realized that Victor is very calm and quiet, which I really like. We love to play hide and seek and chase each other around the yard, and also love nature walks and trips to the dog park. We are still working hard on fetch – Victor really likes to sniff around the yard and is easily distracted by smells or dogs walking by the house, but sometimes he’ll bring the ball back to me and I love when he does! My favourite time though is when I get to cuddle with him on his dog bed in my room before my bedtime. He even comes on sleepovers with me at my grandparents’ houses! Although we love to cuddle and play, Victor has taught me a lot about responsibility. Sometimes I am not too excited about having to walk Victor every day, but my parents remind me that Victor counts on me to take care of him and that he needs the walks to be healthy. Even when it’s -20 degrees outside…BRRR! My whole family thinks he’s the best, especially my nearly two-year-old baby sister – she thinks he’s the best thing in the whole world! She laughs every time he comes in the room and likes to sit on the floor with him to give him hugs and kisses. Victor has lots of love to go around. I hope Victor knows that he’s such a good dog and that I love him. He is my best friend!” – Julien, age 7

A buddy dog is partnered with a child/youth between the ages of 7 and 16 who is living with sight loss. Whether it’s feeding, grooming or walking this well-trained family pet, this will give the child an opportunity to care for a dog, and make it easier to transition into a guide dog partnership in some cases. If you think your child could benefit from being partnered with a CNIB Buddy Dog, please contact Miriam Mas, Program Lead, Buddy Dogs & Ambassador Dogs.