HE’S four months old, playful and adventurous. And he now answers to the name Finn. “Finn is a great name for our new recruit,” says Teresa Zurberg, K9 Handler with the C. Difficile Canine Scent Detection Program at Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH). “He is a clever guy,” just like his namesake, Huckleberry Finn.
More than 900 people, including VCH staff, cast ballots to name the puppy. Finn beat out Olaf, Clouseau and Magnum.
“Not only did people register their choice of name, but many opted to support the program,” says Barbara Grantham, President and CEO of VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation. “Philanthropic support to VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation has enabled the C. Difficile Canine Scent Detection Program to grow from a pilot project with one dog to an established program with six dogs, two of whom are certified and working in hospitals across Canada.”
“Through the C. Difficile Canine Detection Program at Vancouver Coastal Health, dogs such as Finn are helping to keep patients and their families safe and healthy. C. Difficile is one of the most common infections that people get in hospitals,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “A big thank you to the talented team that trains the dogs to do such an important work. Our province is grateful for the valuable contributions of the C. Difficile detection dogs in protecting British Columbians. Thanks also to all those who took the time to vote for the name of the new puppy and support this program.”
Rockey’s Huck Finn Gone Abroad – aka Finn—and his sister, Rockey’s Travelling Girl Gone Abroad – aka Traveller, will spend the next several months learning the basic skills and behaviors expected of all service dogs. At approximately one year old, they will begin specialized training to become C. difficile detection dogs.
C. Difficile Canine Scent Detection Program at VCH
Angus and Dodger are the stars of the C. Difficile Canine Scent Detection Program at Vancouver Coastal Health. 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.
VGH and 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.