As a Regina man with special needs with a support dog named Blue, Owen Lima had difficulty finding work.
He was struggling to land employment until the new Lowe’s at the Northgate Mall on Albert Street decided to give him an opportunity as a customer-service associate.
“Once you’re brain injured, it’s for life. You’re sentenced for life,” Lima said. “Lowe’s has accepted me the way I am. They have accepted my second half, my better half, the dog.”
Owen needs Blue for therapeutic reasons, explaining how his furry friend can recognize stress.
“We listened to his story. We don’t like holding back but because he had the dog we had to take a different avenue on how we did the process so we had to partner with a lot of people to make sure that we did everything in the best interest of the dog and Owen,” said store manager Paolo Gallo.
Blue was outfitted with a bright orange vest with a Lowe’s logo on it.
The dog is a mix of Great Pyrenees Mountain Dog, Blue Heeler, Border Collie and Saint Bernard, although Owen joked his dog doesn’t drool, unless, of course, there’s food around.
The company will hold its official grand opening on Thursday. Earlier this week, a Facebook post introduced social media to the store’s newest employees. Thousands of people have liked the post.
Owen calls his new job at the store the best. For some it may just be a job, but for Owen and Blue it’s a chance for new friends and new hope.
“Right now I’m in seventh heaven. Life is good and getting better.”