From left: Taylor Lemieux, Katarina Summers, Elaine and Danny Lemieux join Ryder “Features” on the coach for a photo. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

by Stephen Dafoe

Features and her brother Pancake were driven off by their mother so she could save the other pups. Features had six seizures in the first hour after she was found, due to dehydration. She had only hours to live. Both Features and Pancake were rescued by Don Summers and Doris Jolicoeur, former Morinville residents and realtors featured in a May 31 Morinville News story.

After reading that story, Morinville residents Elaine and Danny Lemieux new they had to bring Features into their home. Now called Ryder “Features” Lemieux, the dog arrived in their Morinville home, brought to Morinville by son Taylor and Don Summers daughter Katarina.

Elaine Lemieux said the family decided to name the pup Ryder because of the rough ride she had before being rescued in St. Lucia.

“She had a very rough start in life,” Lemieux said. “The past three days has been from St. Lucia to Toronto, Vancouver, a night in Jasper, and is home to Morinville for the rest of her life.”

Lemieux said she was aware of the program through Summers’ daughter before the Morinville News article, but there was something about Features that pulled her heart strings.

“We lost our dog [Boo a 15-year-old Shepherd cross] almost a year ago, and said never again,” she said. “You say it, but you never mean it. We miss it. We miss the dog hair. We’re puppy lovers, especially bigger dogs, and she’s going to be a bigger dog. The dog park is just down the road and the walking path.”

Lemieux said her daughter lives in South Glens and her grandchildren will love having Ryder around.

Husband Danny is also pleased with the new addition to the Lemieux family. “I’m happy. It’s good to have a little puppy again,” he said.

The Bruno Project, started by Doris Jolicoeur and Canadian friend Vanessa Deline, saved 63 dogs in its first 11 months. A year and a bit into the initiative and the project has now helped 80 dogs including Ryder “Features” Lemieux. Of that number, one went to the US, one to the UK and 76 to Canada. One of the Canadian dogs was trained as a service dog for a Canadian veteran with PTSD, and another is undergoing training for a civilian affected by PTSD.

For more information on the program visit the St. Lucia Animal Protection Society – SLAPS at www.stluciaanimals.org.

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