Published on August 26th, 2016 | from CAMH

Dog Days of Summer: Meet the dogs of CAMH

It’s been the dog days of summer. And capping a record-breaking stretch of hot weather in Toronto is nothing less than National Dog Day, August 26th. It’s a chance to celebrate a canine’s predisposition to optimism, loyalty, persistence, honesty and unconditional love – sensibilities that are sometimes lost in this confusing world.

To mark the occasion, we spoke to several canines who we found visiting the CAMH campus last week. Here are their stories.


IMG_3301Hi there! I hope that got your attention. My name is Sydney.

I’m an 11-year-old Cockapoo, which means I have the best characteristics of both Cocker Spaniels and Poodles. Say no more.

I was born in Oakville, Ontario, and named after my owner Heather Sulkers’ home town, which is half-way around the world in Australia. I call Heather “Mum.”

My Mum works at CAMH’s Queen Street site as Senior Project Manager in IMG, and I like to visit her here sometimes. Outside Tower 1, there are usually plenty of squirrels and a few birds that catch my eye, especially underneath the pine trees. Heather’s daughter and my best buddy is Jessica, who brought me here today for a visit.

I always snap to attention when treats are involved. When Mum spends time on the phone talking about CAMH’s clinical information system, I-CARE, I take the opportunity for a quick nap so I am well rested for the next treat.

I love food, treats, chasing squirrels and chipmunks, cuddling, snuggling on people’s laps, and sleeping.

IMG_3303 IMG_3292



IMG_3422Greetings, people. My name is Cleveland, I’m a six-year-old Chocolate Labrador Retriever.

My lovely chocolate coat is a new twist on my ancestry as a popular hunting and retrieving dog. In modern times, some of my Labrador relatives have been trained as disability assistance dogs and for law enforcement. Us Labradors are smart and responsible, among other great qualities!

I first met my owner, Jennifer Hearn, when I was a five-week old puppy. She and her kids picked me out of a litter of 11 of my brothers and sisters (counting me).

I waddled right up to the kids and I knew they had to be my forever family! I think they felt the same about me. Sigh.

I love getting attention from our clients and staff when I am visiting CAMH, where Jennifer works as a Manager at the CAMH Foundation.

This summer I started visiting clients at CAMH as part of the pet therapy program, with some help from my buddy Theresa Conforti in Volunteer Services. Today I visited some of the great people staying at CAMH’s Complex Mental Illness program in Unit 1-5. Everyone always seems to feel a bit more happy and calmer after they get to pet me and spend time with me. And they make me feel even more loved than I already am at home. It’s a win-win situation!!

Plus, Jennifer comes along with me when I visit clients, and she gets to meet more new people each week too. That helps with the work she does giving tours to people who support CAMH’s work through their generous donations.

Jennifer used to be an NFL fan, and Cleveland’s “Dawg Pound” caught her attention. The Cleveland colours match the nice chocolately-brown of my coat, so the name stuck.

I love swimming and hiking and being around people. I am not so fond of cats and squirrels. I like chasing them, but I’m not sure I would know what to do if I caught one.

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(Ahem, Bark)!

IMG_3313Hello, my name is Crispy Bumblebee. Call me Crispy for short.

I turned 7 on August 18.  They say that for the first two years, a dog year is equal to 10.5 human years. After that, each dog year equals 4 human years. So I am 41 in human years, which would make me the same age as Leonardo DiCaprio, although unlike Leonardo, I haven’t had work done.

I am a male Yorkshire Terrier born in Scarborough Ontario. My owner, Maricel Teodoro, named me after a Transformer character – I love my name because it’s unique and it kind of rhymes – I have never met another dog named Crispy Bumblebee. Yorkshire Terriers like me are sometimes called Yorkies. During the Industrial Revolution in England, we played a big role keeping the wool mills running by catching dastardly rodents before they could clog up the machinery.

So it’s no surprise I can go from zero to 100 mph in about three seconds when I see a squirrel.

I love visiting CAMH because of all the friendly staff and clients who say hi to me, plus the ridiculous amount of squirrels to chase! Oh and my Maricel works here as a Senior Business Analyst, and her co-workers sometimes request that I tag along. I bring a smile to their faces when I come over.

My favourite things include people’s feet and hands, cuddles and getting petted. Maricel thinks I have a foot fetish. I love chasing squirrels and bunnies, playing at the dog park, sleeping, and fly watching. Actually I caught a butterfly once – I was a bit surprised and coughed it out.

Things I don’t like so much include vet visits, getting groomed, my prescribed dog food and high energy folks. Stay calm and carry on, people!!

Also, some say I’m a very good co-chair – I can sit on a chair for eight hours, I don’t bark, and I can listen and stay very quiet during teleconference meetings. No need to put me on mute!

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Yip, Yip, Yipeeee!

BellaMy name is Bella. I am a Havanese Bichon, with roots in Cuba. I am also a tiny white bundle of energy.

I don’t know my exact age but I do know that I found my owner Paul a couple of years ago. He was in an addiction treatment program at CAMH.

Before Paul, my previous owner was homeless and looking for someone to mind her dog for a few days. She met Paul at a community program, he agreed to help out, and the rest is history.

Paul says it’s a 24/7 job taking care of me because of my energy level, but I know that he loves me – he says he’s got someone to take care of now.

Paul takes me for walks through the CAMH site. People want to stop and pet me and ask my name. I kinda think I own CAMH now. I’m great with people but I don’t go to the dog park because I’m not so good with other dogs.

Paul has also been known to spoil me with a special filet mignon kibble, and with the occasional trip to the groomer, where I get the haircut, the pedicure — the works!

Some of Paul’s fellow clients at CAMH like to visit with me and it makes them so happy. That also means that Paul spends more time with CAMH clients, guests and staff, including the great people who wear purple on CAMH’s First Impressions Team. That makes me happy too.

Paul and Bella Bella with First Impressions team


Learn more:

Dogs have played a key role in CAMH’s, which meets a need for many clients who are living away from the pets they love.

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