John and Barbara will be among the first couple in Australia to receive their dog. They are passionate labrador admirers having had one as a much loved and long lived family pet.
Over a ritual morning coffee at their local café Barbara read a newspaper article about the proposed trial of an assistance dog program for people with dementia. Her interest was immediate and discussion with John confirmed that this was something they would like to pursue. Online research about the project led Barbara to believe that John could be a candidate for a dog and she enthusiastically sent off an expression of interest.
Barbara and John relocated to Melbourne to be in close proximity to their family and have happily settled into a neighbourhood that offers them a rich and rewarding life style. They enjoy the convenience of nearby strip shopping, good public transport, parks, the cinema and cafes and restaurants. Almost everything is accessible within a short walk. John walked every morning with his labrador and he looks forward to getting out and about with his assistance dog. On the frequent trips they make to the nearby bay Barbara will be able to walk briskly for her exercise leaving John and his dog to walk at a more leisurely pace or opt to take it easy on one of the many park benches.
Apart from the activities already described Barbara and John share and enjoy a busy life with attendance at galleries, movies, concerts , short day and overnight trips and frequent visits from family, friends and past colleagues. Although they enjoy spending time together it would be beneficial for them to spend short periods pursuing independent activities.
Barbara envisages John staying at home with the dog while she does neighbourhood errands or accompanying her to the local shopping area and either waiting for her return in a local coffee shop or the nearby park. Dogs appear to be magnets for social interaction and they both look forward to introducing their dog to the neighbourhood.
Barbara and John have lived full and rewarding lives, John as a Vice Chancellor and Chair of various public institutions, and Barbara as an Occupational Therapist. In her professional life Barbara advocated innovative ways to promote independent living for people with disabilities. She hopes that with the support of her family and many friends and the utilisation of networks and resources that both of them will stay living in their own home for quite some time.
Barbara and John along with their children and grandchildren are enthusiastically looking forward to the new family member and everyone feels excited about exploring the new opportunities and experiences the assistance dog will bring to their lives
(if you would like to continue to follow the story of John and Barbara as they welcome their dog into their home, be sure to keep checking back here for when they start to post in mid October).