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New pups for C. difficile Scent Detection program


Vancouver, BC – It takes a special breed to thrive in a busy health care environment. Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) and VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation are pawsitively thrilled to announce two English Springer spaniels are on the rookie list to join the C. Difficile Canine Scent Detection Program.

The pups will be mentored by Canada's top C. difficile detection dogs, Angus and Dodger, to sniff out a superbug that attacks people with compromised immune systems.  

"Our province is a safer place for patients and families thanks to Angus and Dodger's special talents and keen sense of smell," says Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. "As their pack grows in numbers, these new pups will learn how to prevent the spread and infection of C. difficile in health care facilities and we are grateful for this innovative approach to protecting the public."

The new pups

The pups are three months old and hail from Trenton, Utah.

Rockey's Travelling Girl Gone Abroad, aka Traveller, is a spunky black and white female named in honour of Ron Gaunt, a former police K9 handler in the U.S. and a leader in the sport of nose work. Ron was known as the "Travelling Man." Fittingly, young Traveller has logged her first road trip to Vancouver. Traveller's brother is just as cute, loves sticks and cuddles, but needs a name.

Name the pup

VCH staff have suggested more than 60 names. Our judges pawed through the submissions and narrowed the list to four.  

Puppy nameContext for name
Olaf Olaf is short for olfactory sense, which is what dogs use to help smell
Clouseau Inspector Clouseau was a detective and looked for clues, which is what the new puppy will be doing when sniffing out C. difficile
FinnHuck Finn was a curious explorer, just like this little puppy is
Magnum Investigator (Magnum PI)

Everyone has a chance to vote on their favourite name.  No need to lineup or bring a voting card, just go to to register your top pick. The winning name will be announced in early November.

C. Difficile Canine Scent Detection Program at VCH

Angus and Dodger are the stars of the C. Difficile Canine Scent Detection Program. They are trained and certified to detect Clostridium difficile or C. difficile, a superbug that attacks people whose immune systems are weakened by antibiotics. They are part of an infection prevention team that includes an Infection Control Practitioner and housekeeping staff, all dedicated to reducing environmental contamination from C. difficile.

Since 2016, the canine scent detection teams at VCH have searched hundreds of hospital areas for C. difficile. They've also visited 30 Canadian health care facilities to share their infection prevention expertise. 

"Philanthropic support to VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation has enabled the C. Difficile Canine Scent Detection Program to grow from a pilot project to an established program in the span of a few years," says Barbara Grantham, President & CEO of VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. "Patients across BC are the beneficiaries of this expertise, and we are grateful to our corporate donor, Peterson, the Yeung Family and the Rix Family Foundation for their visionary commitment to health care innovation."

VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation is VCH's primary philanthropic partner, raising funds for specialized health services and research for all British Columbians.  

Vancouver Coastal Health is responsible for the delivery of $3.3 billion in community, hospital and residential care to more than one million people in communities including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola.


Carrie Stefanson
Public Affairs Leader
Vancouver Coastal Health
Office: 604-708-5340
Cell: 604-312-1148

SOURCE: New pups for C. difficile Scent Detection program ( )
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