For content relevant to your community in Ontario, Please select your region

Rhea and her CNIB Buddy Dog Ivy, a two-year-old golden retriever, walking along a trail in the woods. Rhea is holding a stick and they are both looking back at the camera, smiling.

Children with CNIB Buddy Dogs: Rhea & Ivy

A drawing that Rhea did of herself and Ivy with the words “Rhea + Ivy = Love”.
A drawing that Rhea did of herself and Ivy with the words “Rhea + Ivy = Love”.

“I was so excited when I first met my buddy dog, Ivy, because I knew we were going to become best friends. Ivy is a nice, gentle and calm two-year-old golden retriever – with an energetic and playful side too. She's the first dog I’ve ever had. After receiving an email from CNIB Guide Dogs about buddy dogs, my mom and I reached out to CNIB in St. John’s for more information. We applied and Ivy and I were matched in November 2019. I used to be scared of dogs before Ivy came along, but she has helped me get comfortable around them. I have sight loss and she has helped me learn to walk a dog on a leash with some help from my mom. She is helping me prepare for when I’m old enough to get a guide dog. Ivy is my best friend. I love taking her on walks, feeding her and playing with her – I’ve also taught her how to high five. If I could tell Ivy one thing, it would be that she’s made my life so much easier and that I love her. She is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” -Rhea, age: 10

A buddy dog is partnered with a child 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 in some cases, help make it easier to transition into a guide dog partnership in the future. 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.