CTV Ottawa: Ottawa company searches for little girl’s lost stuffed puppy

This is story to which many parents can relate. A young girl lost her favorite stuffed animal in a Brampton hospital. Now the search is on in an Ottawa linen facility to try to bring that stuffed puppy home. The 200-thousand square foot plant processes a million and a half pieces of linen from hospitals, hotels and nursing homes all over Ottawa and parts of Ontario. Still, employees at HLS Linen Services jumped to the call to help reunite this little girl with her beloved stuffed animal. It’s the proverbial needle in a haystack at HLS Linen Services, but in this case it’s a puppy in a pile of linen. Wanted posters of the puppy are pasted throughout the plant floor “hunted” by nearly 200 workers, like Martin Tenholder.

“We’re keeping an eye out everywhere,” he says, as he sorts through piles of cleaned linen.

The puppy is loved by one little girl in Brampton, Ontario. Five-year-old Taya Dawn Larkin says the stuffed animal is her best friend.

“She’s my favorite because she was given to me by my friend Alexa,” she says, as she cuddles beside her mother Kelly.

Taya was in a Brampton hospital a few days ago with double pneumonia. She had brought along her “stuffy” to bring her comfort. When she got sick to her stomach, the stuffed animal needed a cleaning. It was wrapped in a hospital towel to dry it off and that’s the last anyone saw of it.
“I guess it got mumbled up in linens,” says Kelly Larkin, Taya’s mother, “and we didn’t notice puppy was missing until we got home and that’s when the tears started, hey Taya.”

According to mom, Taya has been crying every night, refusing to sleep in her own bed without her favorite friend. So Larkin reached out to CTV to help try to find “puppy” and CTV Ottawa turned to the company that cleans the hospital’s laundry, Ottawa-based HLS Linen Services.
“We all realize the seriousness of a child losing something like that,” says Susan McMahon, HLS Linen Services Production Manager, and mom, “My kids have been sick when they were young and they had a favorite friend, too and if they lost it, well, to know that someone here had been taking it seriously trying to get it back to them, it’s important.”

Within the span of a few hours, the employees have recovered three stuffed animals from among the now-cleaned linens, but no lost puppy, yet.
Finding that one little animal will not be an easy task. HLS Linen Services does as much laundry in one day, according to the Chief Operating Officer, Pete Rainville, “as a family of four does in a year.”
Still, they are confident.

“We will find it if it’s here,” says Susan McMahon, “It might not be today, but we will find it.”

Taya’s mom is overwhelmed by the effort.

“I’m beyond touched, there are no words,” she says as she tears up.

For her part Taya plans to put a name collar on puppy when she gets him back.

“I took really good care of her,” she adds, “until now.”

HLS Linen Services has a pretty good track record for finding important things and returning them to their rightful owners. Their biggest find yet? A nurse’s engagement ring, says Rainville, that she had forgotten in her uniform pocket worth $20-thousand dollars. Lodged in the washer. Returned to the owner.

See the complete story here.