When Qualicum Beach Certified Professional Dog Trainer Domena Diesing of Definitely Dogs was forced to cancel all her puppy and dog training classes because of COVID-19 restrictions, her monthly income plummeted to nothing. Faced with the sudden and scary loss of her livelihood, Domena was thankful for the government relief that kicked in almost right away. She applied for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and like the eight million other Canadians receiving the benefit, she breathed a sigh of relief. But Domena was still worried. Domena considered her work essential, especially for puppies needing to be socialized and trained at a certain age and for other clients who were struggling with an aggressive dog at home. “These families and dogs needed my help – and they couldn’t wait.” Domena says. The rules of the CERB did not initially allow recipients to make any income at all, so Domena found a creative way to serve her clients and her community at the same time. She offered to continue serving clients who really needed her help in a safe, socially distanced setting in return for donations to her charity of choice. Domena selected Camp Kerry Society and Best Friends Animal Society, “one to serve people and one to serve animals,” she says. Camp Kerry Society is one of only a handful of organizations in Canada that is focused on grief and bereavement services for families. As a former social worker, Domena is concerned that the limitations western culture has on talking about and processing grief are hurting a lot of people. She met Heather and Josh when they joined her puppy class earlier this year and she was thrilled to support them when she learned about their work with Camp Kerry. Best Friends Animal Society is a leading animal welfare organization dedicated to providing sanctuaries and ending the killing of homeless pets.
“My clients appreciated the opportunity to give back together,” Domena says. “I saw this as a four way win for my clients, the charities, the dogs and myself. And volunteering has been such a fulfilling part of my life in Qualicum Beach the last 25 years, that giving my time during COVID seemed like an obvious choice. I’ve always valued social contribution, and at a time when I saw a lot of non-profit organizations struggling, this just made sense to me.” We’re so grateful to Domena for her generosity and kind support during this difficult season! To find Domena Diesing visit DefinitelyDogs.ca.