Volunteers and the Canada Summer Games softball venue are taking great delight in looking after Jed while the dog’s owners, Peggy and Brian Head of Goulds, watch their daughter play for Newfoundland and Labrador.
WINNIPEG — There are those who might contend that the John Blumberg Softball Complex hasn’t been very friendly to Newfoundland and Labrador this week.
After all, heading into their game against Saskatchewan Thursday evening, the NL women’s softball team was 0-7 on the Blumberg diamonds, which make up the venue for fastpitch at the 2017 Canada Summer Games.
But despite any disappointment over the fact their daughter, Lindsay, and her Newfoundland teammates were having their struggles coming up with a victory, Peggy and Brian Head feel the facility might rival Disney World as the friendliest place on earth.
And so might nine-year-old Jed, who has accompanied them on the trip, and who has become a bit of celebrity around the fields,
Jed is the Heads’ dog, a 7 1/2 pound Bichon Frise-Shih Tzu mix, also referred to as a Shichon, and in the past, he accompanied them on trips to the Maritimes to watch Lindsay play in softball tournaments.
He also travelled with them to Winnipeg this week for the Games.
On Monday, the Heads made their way to the Blumberg Complex, just outside the western border of Winnipeg, to watch Newfoundland in its first matchup of the Games. But on arrival, they discovered Jed would not be permitted inside.
“I was surprised,” said Peggy. “When we purchased the tickets for softball (at the Games), there was nothing about dogs not being allowed.”
She and Brian then decided to take turns staying with Jed outside the softball venue’s boundaries, with the other watching Lindsay and Newfoundland from the stands.
“We found a place outside right field where one of us could be with Jed, but you still had to look through two fences. I was a bit upset, to say the least that we couldn’t watch our daughter play,” said Peggy.
She spoke about the matter with a Games volunteer on her way out of the facility, wondering if they might be able to get a refund on one of their tickets since they wouldn’t be able to use it.
“The volunteer’s name is Tammy. Unfortunately, I don’t have her last name,” said Peggy, “but when we told her what had happened, she said, ‘We can’t have that. We have to do better.’”
“She told another volunteer — Carmen — and she told us they would definitely find a solution.”
The matter was added to the agenda for a meeting of the venue volunteers that night and they came up with a plan: They would add some dog-sitting to their duties and look after Jed, while the Heads watched the games together.
Apparently, it’s not really a duty.
Jed has become “a hit” with the volunteers, according to Peggy, and has been lavished with treats, toys and a special Games-coloured wrap marked “Volunteer therapy dog.”
All he is missing his own accreditation.
“Those people have been amazing,” said Peggy, who says the volunteers have been keeping a close eye on Newfoundland’s schedule so as to be on hand when Jed shows up.
“They have made our Canada Games experience tenfold better than what it would have normally been.
“They have gone above and beyond what they could have done, maybe even what they should have done, according to the rules for the Games.
“It’s made our week.”