CALGARY -- A congenital heart defect kept Gavin Gillies in hospital for most of the first year of his life. The Calgary boy needed heart surgery at just 13 days old and received a heart transplant at 13 months.

Gavin is now four years old and he had just one wish: a new puppy.

Make-A-Wish teamed up with the Calgary Humane Society to plan a mini 'puppy parade' on Wednesday.

Gavin waved at the dogs as they stuck their heads out of vehicles passing by and, at the end of the line, a six-month-old rescue dog named Blue met his new best friend.

"They're perfect, because they have the same personality," said Gavin's mom, Candace Gillies.

"I knew instantly (Blue) was Gavin's counterpart."


Blue quickly scampered over to Gavin, smelling the boy and licking his nose. The family received gifts of a new dog bed, treats and dog toys for Blue.

"It's so perfect to have this gift when he had such a rough first year," said Candace.

Because Gavin is immunocompromised, he hasn't seen most of his extended family members or friends during the pandemic.

"I think it'll make a great companion for Gavin, especially during COVID," said Matthew Gillies, Gavin's dad.

"We're so isolated, it's nice to be able to have a little friend for him to play with."

As the volunteers left and the family gathered up the new dog toys, Gavin wrapped his arms around Blue and hugged his new friend.

"I love my puppy!" Gavin said. "He's so barky."