STREET CULTURE ANIMALS
OUR FURRY FRIENDS
The culture of Street Culture would not be complete without our furry friends. Over the years, dogs in our spaces have proved to calm crises and agitated youth, de-escalate situations and improve emotional health for the youth we serve. Victims of trauma and crime, youth dealing with school stresses, family or home challenges, or those dealing with depression or loneliness, have all benefited from the therapy of Street Culture dogs. Much like our youth, our furry friends are diverse and we’ve opened our doors to cats and rabbits, as they are just as much fun to cuddle and pet, and bring the same company and comfort needed for our spaces. According to St John Ambulance’s Therapy Dog Program, “Studies have shown that holding or petting an animal helps lower blood pressure, release strains and tension, as well as ease feelings of loneliness and depression. A dog can give comfort that sometimes no words can offer. They provide more than just a warm furry body; many dogs instinctively understand when some needs comfort and offer it unconditionally – without judgment and without obligation. Dogs are completely accepting of people; they do not make judgments about a person’s looks, nor are they offended by what people might say to them. They offer unconditional affection.”
Utah is a two and half year old rescue dog from CCrezQ’s. He was a foster puppy of Alyssa Marinos our RCY Coordinator. Mike Gerrand our Director of Operations immediately fell in love with him and adopted him. He was named for Keanu Reeves character in the movie Point Break and loves playing fetch and snuggling. Utah is a staple at Glinn and can usually be found hiding from skateboards (his nemesis) or sleeping under Mike’s desk. Utah is a very sensitive dog and can also be found with youth who are struggling giving them comfort even though he is typically a shy dog around
Juno is a loveable German Shepherd cross who has satellite dishes for ears. Mom, Alyssa rescued Juno 7 years ago and she has since been her shadow wherever she goes. If she could, Juno would be a PART of her, as she can never get as close to her as she would like. She is borderline codependent, often thinks she’s ‘people’, is an A+ little spoon and can win a gold medal in ‘shaking a paw’. She will give you her paw a million times over or for as long as you let her and attempt to make you believe her mom doesn’t feed her or give her attention. Juno loves treats, her mom, going for hikes and barking wildly at the next door neighbours dog and squirrels. Did I mention she has gigantic ears?
Merle is Charlie’s younger brother, and it’s evident that Charlie trained him well. Merle has a special power of stealing everyone’s hearts and stealing the show wherever he goes. His calm demeanour and expressive eyes melt hearts and he does very well at convincing people to give him a snack or treat. There is never a shortage of dog kisses with Merle around, and he is quick to sit beside you and lick your hand if you’re feeling sad. Don’t let the bad things they say about pit bulls fool you; Merle is a perfect example of how loving they truly are as he is nothing short of a big baby who likes snuggles and to be swaddled. In his spare time, Merle likes to sleep, eat
Meet 11 year old, Layla! The veterinarian says she is half Saint Bernard and the other half is a mix between Rottweiler and German Shepherd- and maybe some other doggy DNA in there too. Layla has been with her mama, Maeg since she adopted her from the Regina Humane Society about ten years ago. The reasons Miss Layla ended up at the Humane Society was because she escaped wherever it was that she was staying and ran across Taylor Field while the Saskatchewan Roughriders were playing! Despite her mischievous ways, Layla is a gentle giant who loves hugs, to be pet, treats and of course, belly rubs. Although Layla used to have the energy to escape everywhere she stayed, now that she has turned eleven, she prefers to nap instead-for most of the day. If you ever see her around Street Culture and she hasn’t already greeted you at the door, feel free to give her some love!
Check out this little fashionista! Pixie is a small 9 year old Chihuahua with a big personality. You can find her most often at the Shelter sporting her favourite outfit-of-the-day and cuddled in the arms of different youth or staff at any given time. Pixie is a dog that knows what she wants and gets it. She is the queen of demanding pets and winning over people’s hearts. Pixie is also great at sensing when someone is having a bad day and is right there with them giving them her unconditional love, in return for theirs. She beats all odds of the Chihuahua stereotype and instead is known as a very calming, lovable, timid and very shaky pup. Although Pixie is often visiting with everyone she meets, she is a momma’s girl and is never too far away from her owner, Jade at any time
Casey is a 6 year old Australian Shepherd/Blue Heeler mix and is the definition of “anxious”. She is also a rescue and the perfect step-sister to Juno. Casey is one of the softest, cutest thing you’ll ever see but is as elusive as a unicorn, due to her social anxiety. Everyone who sees her wants to pet/cuddle her, including her mom, Alyssa; but she is very selective in who gets to pet her and will only grant few people the opportunity to get close to her. Because she’s not much of a cuddler, her mom shows Casey affection by holding her against her and whispering “I love you” repeatedly while she struggles to break free. Despite her insecurities, Casey has an adorable, quirky personality, an unparalleled ability to gently remove her mom’s earrings without swallowing them (they call it the earring game and it’s her favourite way they bond) and has the best ups we’ve ever seen when jumping to catch tennis balls.
Introducing Jupiter! This 1 year old rabbit makes her appearance at Downtown Browne’s Emergency Shelter about once a month on Wednesday nights. She loves to lick people and loves snuggles but she will sure let you know when she’s not in the mood to be held! The youth treat her exceptionally well and always surprised and excited to see a rabbit show up at the Shelter.
Frankie is a 5-year-old Boston Terrier who can bring utter jubilation to whomever he encounters. Frankie’s second home is at the Downtown Brown’s Youth Shelter and his mission is to not rest until everyone feels a bit better leaving than they did when they first walked in. As a youth at risk, residing at the shelter, can bring upon a roller coaster of emotions and although the staff are phenomenal, being there every step of the way for guidance and support; for a youth it can be very scary to make such impactful changes for ones self so abruptly. This is where Frankie comes in. Whether he could be a participant in “Fetch” or “Tug of War”, or to just be a good listener, Frankie has it covered.
Buffy the Mouse Slayer was a three-month-old kitten when in April 2016 Branimir adopted her from the Regina Humane Society, having lived on the street before she was rescued. Every Saturday Branimir takes Buffy to work at Jensen’s Place, where she spends her day hanging out with the youth who just love having animals around. Buffy is very playful and can be affectionate once she gets to know you well, but she is also one of those cats who prefer not to be picked up or pet and wants her personal space to be respected.
THE DOG FATHER
Charlie spent most of his life spreading love, joy and comfort not only to his family but innumerable Street Culture youth as well. As one of the first dogs to roam the halls of Street Culture, Charlie became the reason many more have been welcomed in. Charlie defines the term “Therapy Dog”, as it soon became apparent that he could feel other’s anxiety and pain, and was quick to provide affection and comfort to those in need. He spent 12 years creating loving relationships with youth and staff alike, and also watching over and training the young Street Culture dogs to provide the same comfort and love he perfected; thus being dubbed the “DogFather”. In April of 2017, his life was celebrated with his family, Street Culture staff and youth. Charlie spent his last few days with those he loved and those who loved him, and eating his favourite foods: chips, steak and ice cream. He will forever be in our memories and our hearts.