“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” - Roger Coras
I first met Rex six months ago, and I was completely smitten. A beautiful Greyhound with dark brown eyes and a gentle nature, Rex is the sole companion of John – an aged care resident. Rex had been a rescue dog and a much loved addition to John and Irene's life. They had no family of their own, and Rex filled that special place in their heart.
Sadly, Irene passed away and John could not manage on his own, however, the thought of losing Rex was more than he could bear. Rex was the link to the happiness he had shared with his wife, and the comfort he could not do without.
After countless phone calls, John was able to find a home that allowed him to keep Rex. It was clear to me, when I visited John, that Rex was absolutely vital to his well-being. Rex is able to sense John's moods, and therefore reacts accordingly. The bond between them is very special, and I am so grateful to be able to witness this on a weekly basis as a volunteer.
Walks are great fun, filled with stories about Rex as a puppy, and laughter about just how naughty he can be. Rex also attends Church on a regular basis, where he sits quietly at the back, and always available for a friendly pat or cuddle from other church members.
The importance of Rex cannot be underestimated; especially when John had to go into Hospital for a few days - it was a visit from Rex who cheered him up; reduced his stress levels and made sure John was being well looked after.
There are many dogs who are trained as visitors in both Hospitals and Residential Care Homes, whose presence makes the day more bearable, and gives the patient or resident something to look forward to.
Rex is now a much loved and regular feature at the aged care home, and last week at the Christmas Party he sat proudly with John. Rex also joined in the singing (as dogs do), and was the subject of countless photos. After wrapping John's present for under the tree, I looked at the gift I had wrapped for Rex (his favourite treats), and I thought that for everything you mean to John and many others; for Rex - a more suitable gift would be a pair of wings. Merry Christmas Rex.