Kamloops teen appealing to city council to let her keep support puppy | iNFOnewsDemir D. - May 29, 2022
Hailey Fiddes, 16, is appealing a Kamloops bylaw that restricts how many dogs are allowed at a home.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Laura Fiddes
May 29, 2022 – 7:04 AM
Hailey Fiddes’ 13-week-old puppy Tiny wasn’t supposed to survive.
It was the runt of the litter from a local German shepherd breeder, but after weeks of caring for the little pup, Fiddes nursed it back to health, finding Tiny helped her mental health in the process.
“There have been many nights where I would struggle with my anxiety and it would overwhelm me… but the second Tiny would be there with me — it’s something I haven’t experienced before,” she said. “I had something physically there that was emotionally involved with me.”
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Fiddes, 16, struggles with anxiety and depression and even her clinical councillor acknowledged Tiny was helping her. But now it’s up to Kamloops city council to determine if she can actually keep the dog she’s been caring for.
She applied to the city explaining how the dog has become an emotional support animal for her, along with an application to vary a bylaw that limits how many dogs are allowed at a given home.
Kamloops bylaws limit households to two dogs, and the Fiddes family already varied it successfully in December when they got their third dog, an older German shepherd.
She first contacted the bylaw department before appealing the dog limit, but she was told it would be up to city councillors to decide if they can licence a fourth dog at their Westsyde home. Fiddes paid a $350 fee to appeal the bylaw and City staff recommended council deny it.
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“We were told he wasn’t going to make it,” she said. “I spent a long time going out, making sure he was feeding… making sure he would make it through.”
Fiddes took Tiny, the runt of an eight-pup litter, home when it was five days old. After 13 weeks, she said it’s running and playing with the big dogs.
When Tiny’s not playing with the other dogs, the pair are inseparable.
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“There are countless nights he would be by my side no matter what,” she said.
Although the breeder was doubtful Tiny would survive, Fiddes said it’s healthy and is exploring how to register it as an emotional support animal.
The dog helps her feel more comfortable in social situations and Tiny’s attention calms her down when she’s alone if her mental health starts to deteriorate. Her clinical councillor encouraged her by acknowledging that emotional support animals can help “in ways people can’t,” Fiddes wrote in her letter to the City.
She needs council’s approval for the dog bylaw variance so she can keep Tiny. City council is set to decide at its May 31 meeting.
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