Edmonton service canine Kuno honored at party

Central Social Hall downtown celebrated a special Sunday birthday party in recognition of a beloved Edmonton service dog.

Kuno is a 125-pound rottweiler who has been by Marla Smith’s side for three and a half years.

He developed a large following on social media with daily weather reports, Oilers game predictions and giving people an inside look at the role of a service dog.

“He gets me out of bed in the morning, gets me out in the world,” Smith said. “Things that I find absolutely terrifying to do on my own, he makes it comfortable. He makes it safe.”

All the online popularity has helped give his owner a voice and confidence to advocate for people with disabilities.

I HAD THE BEST DAY EVER!!!! All I saw today was good people, kindness, friends and FOOD!

Every other day I need people to leave me be so I can do my job, but today I got meet everyone and say Thank You for being part of my journey and helping to make our city inclusive.#yeg pic.twitter.com/RQHVEXPN55

— Kuno the Servicerottie©️🇨🇦🐕‍🦺🦽 (@servicerotties) January 9, 2023

Kuno has since gone on to do speaking engagements at post-secondary institutions alongside his owner and attended community events to help promote accessibility and inclusion.

“We never expected it to get that big,” Smith said. “You don’t expect it to go that big and sometimes I think he needs a secretary, but it’s done a ton of good.”

Tonight the @Avalanche are in town to take on my @EdmontonOilers!
It’s my birthday so I’m expecting a 5-2 #Oilers win so I get plenty of goaltreats, a bonus for the win and more for the right predictions.
I’d still like it if an Oiler or 2 came to my birthday party tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/6egf9vzs8N

— Kuno the Servicerottie©️🇨🇦🐕‍🦺🦽 (@servicerotties) January 8, 2023

Sunday’s sixth birthday celebration was the community’s way of saying thank you to Kuno.

“This is a first where the guest of honor is on all fours,” said Kristopher Marks, a birthday party guest.

“Usually, that happens at the end of the night, not the beginning, so this is a very special treat,” he added with a chuckle. “Kuno has become such a unique pillar in the Edmonton community as far as raising awareness and advocacy for accessibility.”

Smith is incredibly grateful to all her supporters and people who donated to her Fluff Ableism campaign.

“The support we’ve gotten from our community has just been incredible,” Smith added. “There’s so much good out there, and I think a dog draws that good out of people.”

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