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Companionship initiative launched for veterans, emergency workers

Niagara Dog Rescue says idea acknowledges important work that military veterans, police, firefighters, and emergency medical personnel do in our communities

The month of November is a time set aside to honour Canadian veterans. It is also the month that Niagara Dog Rescue has chosen to officially launch a unique new dog adoption program called Companionship Initiative. 

This program is specifically designed to connect rescued dogs with not only veterans but also police, firefighters and emergency medical services personnel while providing the support that strengthens the companionship between the adopter and the rescued dog.

Niagara Dog Rescue (NDR) is a registered non-profit, volunteer-based charitable organization dedicated to helping homeless and unwanted dogs find a new home. The rescue focuses on dogs at high risk of being euthanized and has found homes for over 9,000 dogs since being established in 2015. 

NDR operates throughout Southern Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area.

It does not have a physical location but is a foster-based dog rescue. It has a volunteer base of approximately 150 individuals who are spread from London through Oshawa.

Niagara Dog Rescue’s Companionship Initiative acknowledges the important work that veterans, police, firefighters, and emergency medical services personnel do in our communities. These individuals serve selflessly and often serve without recognition. They willingly endure hardship so that we may live safely, and in peace.

Niagara Dog Rescue also understands the importance that dog companionship can bring to people’s lives. Dogs comfort us, enable us, and improve our mental and physical well-being. Many rescued dogs become lifelong, loyal, and treasured members of the adopted family.

The Companionship Initiative will reduce the standard adoption fee by $350 for eligible participants. The adoption fee for a dog under one year will be $500 and the fee for an older dog will be $345. This fee helps to cover the costs associated with rescuing the dog, vetting, boarding, transportation, spaying/neutering, heartworm testing, vaccines and microchipping.

Ken Osborne, a NDR volunteer, has helped to spearhead this initiative. Osborne is a a retired lawyer with the Office of the Judge Advocate General and served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 24 years. He is a veteran of peacekeeping operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina and combat operations in Afghanistan. He and his wife, Alison, adopted two dogs through NDR.

“Right now,” Osborne states, “we are trying to bring public awareness to this new initiative. We want potential adopters to know about it and we also want businesses, groups and individuals who would like to donate to know about it. We are thankful that we have already had individuals and businesses coming forward to sponsor a dog for service members and their families.”

Osborne has a personal connection to the Companionship Initiative. “I never had dogs while I was serving in the military. Our family moved too much. It is incredible how much love, support and companionship my dogs have brought to my life. They have made our house a home.”

For more information about adopting and donating, visit