VIA Rail and good Samaritans to bring Fred the dog from Vancouver to his
Montreal family

MONTREAL, Dec. 23 /CNW Telbec/ - VIA Rail Canada is happy to be contributing to the repatriation to Montreal of Fred the dog. Found November 30 in British Columbia, at the side of his deceased owner, Fred was much featured in the press during the month of December. VIA will provide the train ticket from Vancouver for Fred and two accompanying adults, residents of the Montreal region who have volunteered to take care of the dog during the four day journey starting January 1st. The dog will be united with the family of his deceased owner upon arrival in Montreal.

On December 8, a Montreal daily, The Gazette, ran an article on Fred, a rugged aboriginal Malamute (Kugsha). Many animal lovers were moved by this story, including some VIA Rail employees. The latter were moved to ask VIA to put the dog on the train, while volunteering to take care of him during the trip. But VIA could not jeopardize the quality of customer service to passengers by assigning train employees to take care of the animal. The solution, as explained by Steve Del Bosco, Chief Customer Officer at VIA, was suggested by a resident of Beaconsfield, Frank Palumbo.

"This bighearted person decided to pay the Montreal-Vancouver airfare for his wife, Mélanie Pellerin, and one of her friends, so they could bring Fred by train to his new Montreal home. With these two taking care of Fred during the trip, the train ride became possible, so we offered them free tickets for the trip. VIA accepts pets on its trains as long as passengers onboard can take care of them", explained Mr. Del Bosco.

Ms. Pellerin said she was very moved by VIA's offer. "I am really happy to see that such a large corporation could be so sensitive to our request. The management and employees displayed generosity and kindness!" For her part, Lynda Roy, sister of Fred's deceased owner, Cyril Roy, warmly thanked all involved: "Thanks to VIA Rail, Mr. Palumbo, the media, and all the staff at the animal shelter in Nanaimo (BC), including Stephanie Walker. My family and I will be reunited with a precious piece of my brother. I am really looking forward to seeing Fred. It will help ease our sorrow. My brothers and sister, Karen, Yanic, Ann, Stephen and Fred himself will be forever grateful for everything that people have done for us!"

About Fred

On November 30, Cyril Roy, 58, was found dead in his trailer, near Nainamo. His dog, Fred, who stayed by his side, was taken to a kennel, and then to an animal shelter. The family of Mr. Roy, in Montreal, tried to recover Fred, but ran into difficulties because of the dog's imposing size and the complexity of a winter trip. Subsequently, Max Harrold, a journalist at The Gazette, wrote an article on Fred's uncertain fate, eliciting dozens of offers by caring individuals wishing to transport the dog. But nothing concrete was achieved until the interventions of VIA and Frank Palumbo.

About VIA Rail Canada

As Canada's national passenger rail service, VIA Rail Canada's mandate is to provide efficient passenger train services, that are cost effective and environmentally friendly, both in Canada's busiest corridor and in rural and remote regions of the country. Every week, VIA runs 503 intercity, regional and transcontinental trains that connect 450 communities over a network of 12,500 kilometres. The demand for VIA's services is increasing, because more and more passengers are choosing the train as a reliable, practical and environmentally friendly means of transportation to avoid congested highways and airports. For further information on VIA's services across the country, customers can visit viarail.ca.

SOURCE VIA Rail Canada Inc.

For further information: For further information: VIA media contact: Elizabeth Huart, (514) 871-6119; Catherine Kaloutsky, (416) 956-7683


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