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Michael and Dusty

Type of dog:

Border Collie X Kelpie




Karingal Inc Community Programs


Since August 2012

This story has been provided courtesy of our Therapy Dog Co-ordinator in Geelong.

One of our visiting dogs and their owner had been a part of the program for many years; the volunteer had many health issues and was in constant pain, she often sought emotional support from me during this time.

The volunteer finally found herself a partner and it seemed as though her life had started to turnaround.  I had never met him but understood that he was an amputee, having had one leg removed from the hip due to early onset cancer.  This had happened to him while he was in the prime of his life and it seemed like a match made in heaven.

Late one night, the volunteer called me and asked if she knew anyone who could take her dog Dusty as she was no longer able to continue looking after him.  I gave her a few names as an emergency stop gap and I tried to console her as best I could – but her constant pain was just too much for her to manage.  Later, I found out that the volunteer had passed away early the next morning with Dusty's head resting on her chest.  It was persumed that she had taken her own life.

Sometime after, her partner Michael made contact with me and asked could he continue the good work she had done with us.  Subsequently, Dusty was assessed with Michael as the handler and they commenced their visits to two disability units.  A new bond was formed between Dusty and Michael which was amazing and together they continued to bring joy and happiness to the people they visited.

I have observed the healing process for both Michael and Dusty and it has been incredible to witness.  The work has made such a huge difference to his life.  Michael has also made a decision to return to study and is now studying Cert 2 in Disability Studies and wants to continue helping others with disabilities.   

Michael has continually visited since 2012 however will be retiring Dusty soon as he is getting reading to enjoy his "twlight years".  Michael now has a new partner –  but it is just a wonderful result and it goes to show that it is not only those we visit that benefit from our program but the voluneers too.

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