Whether he's rocking a rainbow bow tie, sticking out his pink tongue, or covering his eyes with his tiny paws, a local miniature schnauzer steals hearts with his adorable antics and teddy bear-like appearance.
Owner Suzen Lülf tells Vancouver Is Awesome that she feels lucky to have the pint-sized canine. "I know everyone says this about their animals but he is just a perfect, perfect dog," she explains.
"Other dogs adore him and they have to be dragged away by their owners because they just keep hanging around him."
The miniature schnauzer is aptly named Sch"NOW"zer and celebrated his twelfth birthday on May 30. And while they've spent several happy years together now, Suzen says the petite pooch had a difficult start to life.
Before she had Sch"NOW"zer, a woman that Suzen knows bought him from the pet shop.
"He was born in a puppy mill in Missouri. He was trucked to Texas where they cropped his ears and tail. Then he spent the first eight months of his life — like the best time of a puppy's life — in a shop window, getting reduced in price."
Sch"NOW"zer spent the first five years of his life with the woman who bought him. However, she suffered from some substance abuse issues and Suzen adopted him from her.
Suzen adds that she was grieving the loss of a different pet when he came into her life.
"I didn't want a puppy," she says. "You know, I needed a dog that needed me."
Community Veterinary Outreach program in Vancouver
A program that offers free veterinary clinics on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside has been a vital resource for pet owners like Suzen, particularly during the pandemic.
In addition to food, treats, toys, and "little outfits," animals at the clinic may also receive grooming. Sch"NOW"zer was able to get a haircut before the scorching heat wave that saw many local animals suffer.
But Suzen says the clinic offers more than treatment and supplies.
"It's not just the giving, it's the way they give," she explains.
UBC Clinical Instructor Kelsi Jessamine runs CVO One Health clinics with veterinarian Dr. Doris Leung. The program, which is supported by a UBC Community University Engagement Support (CUES) grant — is offering a series of free “One Health” veterinary clinics that provide pro bono veterinary care while supporting marginalized pet owners’ own health needs.
For community nurses, reaching clients can be one of the most challenging parts of outreach. Through these free clinics, however, nurses are able to provide primary care services to individuals, who they might not otherwise be able to reach, through their animal companions.