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Barb

Barb and Parker

Type of dog:

German Shepherd

Location:

NSW

Visits:

Salvation Army Maybanke Aged Care Plus

Volunteering:

February 2018

Visit number 2 today. My dog is super smart – actually ALL our dogs are super smart. It took them 15 minutes to become Delta Dogs but it took us 6 hours to become Delta humans at our induction day. I so wish I was as smart as Parker. Anyway, visit number 2. This means the bandana and special collar came out. You would have thought the balls and lead had come out for a romp in the park – he went nuts! When we got to our visit, he made a beeline straight for the door. The lift arrived – ‘out of the way mum, I’ve got to get upstairs’.

Two weeks ago when I went to introduce myself, I met the manager, Yogi. What a delight. She couldn’t wait to get me outside to show me the beautiful garden and to make sure it was big enough for ‘Parker to have a good run around’.  My mind and my mouth now went in two different directions. I assured Yogi that it was more than big enough for ‘Parker to have a good run around’. Here comes my mind but first close your eyes and see a 48kg German Shepherd with ears the height of the Opera House (actually, now I come to think of it, they are actually shaped like the ‘sails’ on the Opera House). I digress – sorry. My mind’s eye saw the freshly planted autumn pansies ending up on top of the beautifully manicured hedges. The phone box in the centre of the garden was upended and the tea-trolley, laden with goodies on pretty floral plates, became a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle on the path. Added to this were the residents in various states of disarray amongst their walkers, wheel chairs and walking sticks. Yes Yogi, the garden is big enough for ‘Parker to have a good run around’ – NOT!

It was decided that our first visit would take place the following Wednesday in the afternoon. Yogi was keen to get us started and the mornings just weren’t going to work that week. I thought it was a good idea anyway for Parker not to be too inundated day 1, so the afternoon it was. Thank goodness there was a birthday party or the poor pup would have met 3 people – 2 of which were not interested in meeting him. I mean, I didn’t want him inundated but I didn’t want him to wonder why the shower, the major brush, the bandana, etc. etc. etc. He is a charmer so he worked the table – what a man! We stayed about 45 minutes, 20 of which were spent with a delightful gentleman called Barry. He is blind so Parker was felt from head to toe and everywhere in-between. Barry told me today that he phoned his friend in Queensland during the week to tell him about Parker. I heard the story of this Queenslander last week and heard it again this week. I fully expect to hear it again next week and that’s just fine. I’m almost word perfect with Pride and Prejudice and Gone with the wind, so I fully expect to know quite a few of their tales very well too.

Today, visit number 3, the residents were a lot more comfortable with Parker and I being there. Barry wistfully said that he wished that he could see Parker, but his fingers did the walking again and Parker patiently allowed this to happen. I too was more comfortable this week so after morning tea we ventured into some rooms. Parker cuddled up and I pulled up a pew and had a yarn.

There’s lots of ‘dog talk’ of course, but there is also a lot of life stories. As well as that, it’s a quick realisation that this is a family of sorts. We are already working out the many different roles that the residents have. The ‘organiser’ rushes to give me the monthly time table of events. The ‘traveller’ shows memorabilia from around the world. The ‘sports’ expert talks about the Swans. We stayed an hour today. Whilst it appears that Parker could have stay all day, I have taken the advice of the experts and will build him up over the next few weeks. A good idea – a serious snoozing session happened the moment we walked through the door. Parker’s tail was curled in and under for a good few hours.


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