Skip to the main content

Dominica Julie Aspillaga (Julie)
Bringing Sugar, the dog, to Canada

Time 0:01:20


But my husband stayed a month after we left because he has to finish his work and then he has to sell the car. And then we were wondering about our dog, Sugar. Sugar is our family dog and she’s, like—she’s very attached to the children. So my husband was looking for a place for him who can adopt Sugar, but, uh, my husband was so sad because Sugar waits by the porch outside of our home, waiting for the school bus. And it broke his heart. He said, “How can we leave this animal,” you know? “She’s missing the children.” So he decided to bring Sugar along. But we have to keep Sugar—no, the information that I got from my step-mom, “Oh, in Canada we have strict rules about animals.” “Oh,” I said, so we decided to ask for more information about Sugar—how we can bring Sugar to Canada.

And I realized my step-mom didn’t like animals, because at that point we were living with my dad and my step-mom. So my husband said, “Why don’t we leave Sugar, first, in New York, where my cousin lives, until we get our own place in Canada.” So that’s how Sugar migrated to Canada, after a month, and then she finally joined my family. And you could see the joy that she brought to these children when she finally arrive in the airport.

Dominica Julie Aspillaga (Julie) was born in Manila, Philippines in 1954. Julie graduated with a nursing degree from St. Paul College in Manila in 1976. She married her husband, Frank, two years later and they had three children.

Julie’s parents and siblings had immigrated to the United States in the late 1960s while she remained in the Philippines. Julie and Frank left the Philippines in the early 1980s when Frank got a job as a musician on a cruise line based in Cyprus. Julie also worked on a cruise ship as a Registered Nurse (RN) but later found a job at a maternity clinic in Cyprus. Julie’s children initially stayed with family in the Philippines and joined their parents in Cyprus in 1986.

Julie and Frank started to think about immigrating to give their children a better education when their oldest daughter finished high school. After waiting a long time to hear back from immigration officials in the United States, Julie’s father encouraged them to apply to Canada. The family was accepted within seven months of applying and they immigrated to Canada in January 1993. Julie and her family moved to Scarborough, Ontario where her father was living. After Julie passed her Ontario nursing licensing exam, she was hired as a full-time RN at a retirement facility.

Return to the main gallery >