Changing people’s lives one wiggle at a time: a guide dog puppy named after the Expo Line

Changing people’s lives one wiggle at a time: a guide dog puppy named after the Expo Line

It seemed like the universe was sending her a sign, when Jocelyn, a CMBC employee, found out that the puppy her mother helped as a volunteer for BC & Alberta Guide Dogs will be named after TransLink’s Expo Line.

Recently, the charity organization named one of its adorable puppies Expo, as a gesture of appreciation, following the successful training of dozens of guide and service dogs-to be, which took place last summer at TransLink’s Vancouver Transit Centre.

Guide dogs with their trainers at Vancouver Transit Centre
Dozens of guide and service dogs-in training successfully completed their mandatory training at Vancouver Transit Centre last year.

Expo and her siblings were born in winter at Jocelyn’s mother’s house. As a volunteer breeder-caretaker, Diane previously raised two dogs for BC & Alberta Guide Dogs, including Expo’s mom. After the first few weeks spent with the caretaker, the puppies are usually placed with families, who take care of them for the two years before they proceed to advanced training.

At the time, Jocelyn was living at Diane’s house. Together with her fiancé, they decided to volunteer as Puppy Raisers to help Diane co-raise Expo.

Expo with Jocelyn, the Puppy Raiser

These first years are essential for the future success of the puppies. They are taught basic obedience and taken out for socialization trips to help them familiarize with different environments.

The visits to public places, such as transit, shopping malls, and grocery stores expose the puppies to different environments and stimuli. This helps them to stay calm and focused in various situations, such as when they board buses or SkyTrain in the future.

It has only been five weeks since Jocelyn joined as a volunteer, but she was impressed at the progress that the puppies make. “I am shocked how quickly they pick up things while they’re being trained. It’s unbelievable, really unbelievable.”

photo of Expo, BC & Alberta Guide Dogs' puppy named after TransLink's Expo Line
This is Expo, BC & Alberta Guide Dogs’ puppy named after TransLink’s Expo Line

Expo is the most adventurous puppy, according to Jocelyn. “She’s not afraid of anything and has no fear. She’s a very good listener and is obedient when she wants to,” Jocelyn added with a chuckle.

As a young puppy, Expo is curious and eager to explore the world and sniff things. To become a true professional, she is learning the art of basic obedience and impulse control. For example, she needs to learn to be patient and wait for a whistle to be blown before she can get to her meal.  At twelve weeks, Expo has already learnt how to lay down and come, when you call her. “She is still mastering “come to the side” command, but she is getting there.”

Outside of her training time, Expo loves to do regular puppy things, such as coming to the room where Jocelyn is sitting and falling asleep at her feet. That has also been one of the Jocelyn’s most favorite moments with the puppy.

Co-raising and training Expo has been a memorable experience. Not only did it provide Jocelyn with an opportunity to bond with her family, it also enabled her family and her to engage with the community of Puppy Raisers and Puppy Supervisors through socially distanced walks and Zoom calls. “It’s been really neat and fascinating to follow the journey of other dogs… and it’s also my little way to give back,” Jocelyn said.

Knowing that one day Expo will go on to change someone else’s life is incredibly rewarding and encourages Jocelyn to cherish the time her family has with the puppy.

To learn more about BC & Alberta Guide Dogs or how to get involved, visit their website: