After Hailey Fiddes’ speech, the council unanimously agreed to let her keep her 3-month-old German shepherd.

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It’s a significant victory for Tiny.

The three-month-old German shepherd will not be removed from his new home where he lives in Kamloops, B.C., after his teenage owner, Hailey Fiddes, 16, made a heartfelt appeal to the city council to let her keep the dog despite a city bylaw that caps the number of canine pets per home to two.

Fiddes lives with her family and three other dogs, plus Tiny. The council approved the family in December 2021 to get the third pet, and asking for a fourth was pushing their luck.

But Fiddes, who has anxiety and depression, went before the city council on May 31 and argued the latest addition to the family is a support animal. 

“This is not a pet request,” said Fiddes during the presentation, her voice shaking slightly with nerves.

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What does tinny show?

Fiddes explained that Tiny has significantly improved her mental health, that she will be enrolling him in a local academy to be trained as a support animal when he is old enough, and that she should be allowed to keep the dog.

After her speech, the council unanimously agreed.

“This dog is health to you,” said Coun. Dale Bass, before making the initial motion to approve Fiddes’ request. 

Bass praised Fiddes’s poise, calling her “amazing” for gathering the courage to come to city hall. And how important it was to have the dog trained.

Public speaking is terrifying for Fiddes, who told the council about her extensive mental health struggles.

They heard how in the last year, she has been put on medication and changed schools and how, until she acquired Tiny. Her counselor had not seen any improvements in her.

After becoming a dog owner. Fiddes said her anxiety has so improved that her counselor reduced her sessions from once a week to alternating weeks.

“He brings comfort and redirection about how I think,” she said.

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What did the teenage girl say?

The teen told CBCshe fell in love with the runt of the litter when her family was visiting the breeder they got their third dog from.

Fiddes said the minute she held Tiny, her “compelling” anxiety melted away.

She emailed city hall to ask permission to keep Tiny and was told her request would likely be denied.
So, despite past experiences where her social anxiety had paralyzed her in front of peers at school. She knew she would have to stand before a panel of adults and plead her case.

“My dad was standing beside me the entire time. And I just stared at the paper; my hands were trembling,” said Fiddes.

But in the end, she says the experience gave her two big wins — a little dog and an enormous sense of accomplishment.

The teen said facing council head-on showed her that she is stronger and more capable than she thought, and she hopes it sends a signal to others with social anxiety that they can tackle their fears.

“If it’s something you’re passionate about like I am with my dog, then there is nothing standing in your way besides your mental block,” said Fiddes.

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