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Taking a page out of the playbook
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Taking a page out of the playbook

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Today is National Puppy Day. I know that announcing and writing about the national days is more of a thing Doug Spiers would do when he penned this newsletter, but I thought I’d take a page out of his old playbook and write about a national day this week.

I have two dogs — Charlie and Opal. We adopted both girls from Spirit of Hope Animal rescue a few years ago. Charlie, a small but sassy little mutt that looks like a mixture of corgi, dachshund, pug, and maybe chihuahua? was first to join our family. A year later Opal, the most lovable medium-sized mutt, joined us.

Both were puppies, rescued from and in partnership with two northern Manitoba First Nation communities at the time we got them. I don’t know much about Charlie’s story. She was a teeny little puppy who was named Isabella by Denise, the woman who was fostering her. Charlie was good with kids, and our girls loved her from the second they met her.

Charlie and Opal. (Supplied)

I know a bit more about Opal’s story. She was rescued from a garbage dump in northern Manitoba by volunteers at Spirit of Hope Rescue. Opal, along with a number of other dogs, were taken in as part of a large dog-rescue operation undertaken by passionate volunteers — all of whom who have other jobs and responsibilities and spend much of their free time helping dogs.

Russ Jack, one of the Spirit of Hope volunteers and my social media friend, told me when they found Opal, she was just skin and bones. A tiny little pup who could barely stand because she was too weak and hungry, and she was afraid of everyone except another dog who was her companion and seemed to take care of her.

After she was rescued, Opal and her companion (who would be adopted and named Wolf, I think?) lived with a foster family, the Timkos, until they were adopted. Opal received vet care, companionship and love. She was given a whole new life thanks to the volunteers and fosters at Spirit of Hope.

Our family is so lucky to have Charlie and Opal, and we are grateful for the hard and often unseen work that so many volunteers and organizers of Manitoba animal rescues do. On this National Puppy Day, if you have the means, I encourage you to donate to a rescue of your choice so that other pups can thrive. If you don’t, that’s OK too. You can also support by following rescues on social media, sharing posts, and taking part of in fundraisers or adoption events.

I hope you all have a lovely week and enjoy the warmer weather. My kids and I found plenty of gigantic puddles to play in and jump in yesterday.

Until next week…


Shelley Cook

Shelley Cook, Columnist

Shelley Cook


Earlier this week, Joyanne Pursaga wrote about nine-year-old Jake Hultin, a Charleswood resident who is taking action and getting involved in civic politics and his community by asking the city to install more garbage cans. In a letter to Coun. Kevin Klein (Charleswood-Tuxedo-Westwood), Jake explained that he wants more garbage cans “because my dog poops a lot.” Honestly, I can’t tell you how much I love this story. Good on you, Jake!

Jake Hultin carries a bag of his puppy Maui’s poop as they go for a walk. (John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press)

Chris Kitching wrote a beautiful story this week about St. Andrews resident Brad Bobrowich, who is working to bring a Ukrainian family he met number of years ago — Ilona Protynyak and her two children — to Manitoba while the war in Ukraine rages on. This is a heartwarming story about kindness and connection.

Andrew and Ilona Protynyak with children, Demian and Milena.(Supplied)



Earlier this week, Malak Abas wrote about the Manitoba Metis Federation opening the doors to its new community access point on Selkirk Avenue. The new space has a shelter as well as transitional housing. People can connect with an elder in residence, as well as access counseling, crisis prevention or a chance to take part in programming that will be held by the MMF.

Will Goodon, MMF minister of housing and property management, speaking at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new community access point for Red River Métis citizens at 550 Selkirk Avenue.(Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)

Jason Bell wrote an awesome piece about William (Bill) Mosienko, the late Chicago Blackhawks player who set an everlasting record, registering the fastest hat trick in NHL history on March 23, 1952, at Madison Square Garden. This story is special, and a great read whether you’re a hockey fan or not. Bell spoke to 90-year-old Fred Hucul, a teammate of Mosienko's and the last living team member of the 30 players on the two Original Six teams who suited up that night… 



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