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A four-eyed dog and his owner, as well as a Winnipeg business man are being recognized for their dedication to St. Boniface Hospital. 

Staff at the hospital honoured Larry Vickar, owner of Vickar Automotive Group and Rusty the dog and his owner George Ames today. 

Last week in Ottawa, the three were awarded Senate 150th Anniversary Medals. The medals are being given to Canadians or permanent residents actively involved with their communities. 

"I thank Rusty for sharing this with me quite frankly," Vickar said. "I have to say Rusty and George are most deserving, much more so than myself or others in the respect of the wonderful enjoyment they have brought people at critical times in their lives." 

Vickar is a longtime supporter of St. Boniface Hospital Foundation and served on the board for a numbers of years.

doggo pupper 2

He has a personal connection with Rusty.

"My late father spent his last 33 days in this hospital and loved dogs," Vickar said. "Rusty came up to his room to make some of those days better for him and that story repeats itself time and time again for other families." 

Ames and his wife adopted Rusty 13 years ago. 

Through Rusty, Ames has a chance to give back to his community in a way he didn't think was possible. 

"Rusty gives me the opportunity to talk to people I otherwise wouldn't, patients who are dying or new parents who are taking their baby home for the first time," Ames said.  "I've seen people in their last days and weeks and talked with them about life and without Rusty I wouldn't have been able to do that." 

As for the glasses? Ames says they started as a joke, but Rusty never took them off. 

"They give him a bit of character," Ames said with a laugh. "Why does he keep them on? Good question. He thinks he looks good in them." 

Ames says Rusty will be 15-years-old in March but their vet tells them he's in good health, which means they'll be visiting patients at St. Boniface Hospital for years to come. 

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