Celebrating Therapy Dog Awareness Month 2021
‘Double degree’ holder Galen was introduced to the late Bill Patchett and his wife Isabel last year – as a Therapy Dog for long-term Guide Dog handler Bill, and a Companion Dog for Isabel. Blind since the age of 18, Bill was no stranger to Guide Dogs and had eight Guide Dogs throughout his life.
A few years ago, Bill’s health deteriorated to a point where he needed to move into residential aged care, but his eyes continued to light up when the conversation was about Guide Dogs – and it was no different when he met Galen for the first time. With Bill in care, Isabel was also faced with living on her own, so Galen put on his Therapy Dog hat and provided her with much-needed companionship and they would visit Bill every day.
Sadly, Bill passed away recently, and Galen has been a beautiful companion dog and instrumental in helping Isabel get through each day, not leaving her side since. There were days where Isabel knew she simply would not have gotten through without Galen – he was and continues to be the reason to get up each day.
The COVID-19 pandemic also meant that Isabel went into lockdown in order to protect her own health. Isabel says “Galen is definitely my hero – he comforts me when I’m upset by putting his head on my lap and is also someone to talk to in isolation. Galen has definitely made me feel not as lonely and I am so grateful to have him”.
September is Therapy Dog Awareness Month, a time to pay tribute to all the Therapy Dogs who make a difference to the lives of their Handlers.