Type of dog:
Kim and Barney, a Groodle became Delta volunteers back in late 2013 and visit Nazareth House in Ballarat. It’s a large place and we have made many friends, and experienced some sad losses along the way. Barney still walks in to one room to see ‘Bob’, even though he’s no longer there.
Barney loves all the guests, but there is no doubt he formed an incredible bond with Elizabeth, a wonderful lady who was always overjoyed to see Barney. She loved him dearly and wished he could stay with her! In fact, when I showed her a photo of Barney with his toy, Baby Barney, she asked me to buy her one if I ever saw them again and she’d pay me. I looked all over, but never did find one. Had I done so, it would have been a pleasure to give it to her as a gift.
Every visit was the same, Elizabeth was dressed beautifully and welcomed Barney so much. I took a photo of the two of them together and this was proudly displayed in Elizabeth’s room.
Two weeks ago, Elizabeth’s door was closed when we visited. A gentle knock was met with a grateful granddaughter who was thrilled to see us. I had met some of the family already and they knew of Elizabeth’s love of Barney. Elizabeth was getting ready to leave this world and was laying peacefully in her bed. I sat down on the chair and got Barney on my lap. He leaned over and put his head on Elizabeth’s pillow and there he stayed for ages.
Now, Barney is only 3.5 years old and Elizabeth is second on our list when we arrive, so he’s usually still quite excited at that point. He knew his job was to rest with Elizabeth and let her know he was there. Much talking to Elizabeth and her granddaughter was sure she knew he was there. When we left we knew it would be our last time to see Elizabeth. A short time later one of Elizabeth’s daughters came to find me as more family had arrived and wanted to see Barney with Elizabeth. We went back and Barney did the same again. It was incredibly touching and wonderful, not only for Elizabeth, but for her family to see her at this time with something so special to her.
They duly told me they’d keep me posted and when she passed on 17th March, I was advised of funeral arrangements. Yesterday we attend the service at Nazareth House. Nervous as I was, I was so thrilled to attend with Barney with both of us in our Delta gear. Barney walked in and stopped at Elizabeth’s door before moving on to the chapel along the hall. He behaved so impeccably and the family were so emotional to see him. We went and greeted them up the front and then sat up the back in case he needed to be taken outside. No, he was quiet and relaxed through the whole service. As the family and guests filed out, we were standing and able to greet many of them. So many stopped to pat Barney and some more of Elizabeth’s family, who had heard of Barney but not yet met him, also got to say ‘hi’ and meet him.
It was a day I won’t forget and an experience that sums up all that we do. Barney touched many lives yesterday and made me so so proud.