A teen from Harrison Hot Springs who has been baking dog treats as a fundraiser to help with the training costs of a service dog, finally met the young puppy in-person.
Ryder Newhouse, 15, has been donating proceeds from the sale of his dog cookies to BC and Alberta Guide Dogs, specifically for a puppy named Juniper, since January.
Ryder has autism and for the past two and a half years he has baked cookies for his unofficial therapy dog, Tommy, and other pooches. But it was just this past Christmas that he had the idea to sell the cookies and donate to charity.
He picked a yellow Labrador named Juniper who is eight months old and is being trained by Lorna and Derek Shaw on Vancouver Island.
Juniper is not for Ryder and it is not yet known who will have her once she’s fully trained which will be at about two years of age. Ryder said he wants to help other kids have therapy dogs “because some kids can’t see and the dogs help them.”
On June 24, Ryder met Juniper for the first time at a coffee shop in downtown Chilliwack.
“It’s kind of like a mutual admiration society,” Lorna said of Ryder’s fundraising. “Ryder does a lot to bring awareness to our program and I think our dogs are perfectly suited to help somebody like Ryder and to make a huge difference in a person’s life.”
For the past six months, Ryder has been baking up a storm both at home and at Fergie’s Doggie Delight Pet Bakery in Chilliwack making ‘Tommy’s Choice’ dog treats named after his furry companion.
They’ve been selling like hotcakes and so far he’s raised about $600 for Juniper’s training.
The whole experience started before Christmas 2021 when Ryder was welcomed into Fergie’s as part of Agassiz Secondary School’s ‘Take Our Kids to Work Day’ where he made cookies for dogs on his newspaper route for Christmas. Since then, co-owner Connie MacDonald has let Ryder use her bakery several times to make the cookies for charity.
The canines with BC and Alberta Guide Dogs are not just to guide people. The dogs bring emotional support and get people out of their house to enjoy life, Lorna said.
The society is looking for more puppy raisers, but the Shaws admit that it is a lot of work and trainers need to have a lot of spare time on their hands.
“We’ve raised dogs for quite a few years and we have never trained our own dogs this hard,” Derek said.
For more on how to become a puppy raiser, go to bcandalbertaguidedogs.com.
Ryder’s ‘Tommy’s Choice’ dog treats can be purchased at Fergie’s Doggie Delight Pet Bakery (9372 Mill St. in Chilliwack), Beach Dogs Veterinary Walk-in Clinic (439 Lillooet Ave. in Harrison) and See Ya Later Ranch winery (2575 Green Lake Rd., Okanagan Falls).