When Debbie Robinson checked her email earlier this summer and saw a message from Chris Hadfield, she laughed a lot.
“All of us who breed and show dogs have been bombarded with requests since the beginning of the pandemic from people wanting dogs in their lives,” he said.
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“So I was in the car with my husband when I got the application and I laughed and said to my husband, ‘People will do anything to get a puppy now. I have one who even said he’s an astronaut. “
Her husband took a look at the message and told her the news: that’s the real Colonel Chris Hadfield, the astronaut.
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Robinson responded immediately, then she and Hadfield spoke on the phone. Before long, a small tan and black spaniel named Henry, born the day the city had to evacuate due to the White Rock Lake wildfire, was paired with the Hadfield family.
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However, from then until Friday, a few things happened. Among other things, Robinson told his two grandchildren about his famous future visitor and they, in turn, told their friends, and their friends told their friends, and so on.
They go to Falkland Elementary School, which has about 150 students in kindergarten through eighth grade, and when word got out and the day Henry would be adopted approached, Robinson had an idea.
“I thought it would be easier for him to go to school than to have 300 people on the street before he turned the corner to go up to our house,” he said.
She approached Hadfield with the idea and he eagerly took on the task. As Robinson pointed out, when he was in space, he often got close to children.
“Unfortunately with COVID-19, he couldn’t have the whole school in his presentation, so some of the older kids were there and the other kids relayed it to their classroom,” he said.
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Then he went from room to room and talked to the children.
“I am very grateful that he was willing to go there and share with the children. It was inspiring for them. They were in awe and he had a wonderful message for them to hear about achieving their dreams no matter how difficult it may seem, “he said.
And her two grandchildren had an even more special visit.
He spent some time with both of them. He read a book with my grandson, who is five years old, and he brought me some books, for me and my friends.
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Falkland Elementary School issued a statement about the event, saying: “We feel very fortunate that you were able to visit us to share your achievements and experiences in space.”
Hadfield’s many awards include the Order of Canada, the Meritorious Service Cross, and the NASA Outstanding Service Medal. He was named the Best Test Pilot in both the US Air Force and the US Navy and was inducted into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame.
He has flown three space missions, building two space stations, conducting two spacewalks (EVA), manning the shuttle and Soyuz, and commanding the International Space Station. He shared with the students that he had circled the earth 2,650 times, saw the sun 16 times in one day, lived in space for half a year, and was the first Canadian to leave a spaceship and float freely / walk in space.
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