Skip is part of Australia’s first assistance dog program to help people living with dementia and their families. He recently graduated from the program at a ceremony for assistance dogs in Sydney.
Event: Rolf, Vyrna and Jiyu walked in Sunday’s 4 km Mothers’ Day Classic in Bendigo accompanied by 3 daughters, 2 grandchildren and 2 partners.
Weather: soft rain throughout, invigorating rather than disagreeable.
Advice on terrain prior to walk: ‘starts across a grassed soccer field, then mostly paved, a bit up and down, and some compressed sand you can walk around; should be OK for your walker, and you are very welcome to come. By the way, don’t start in the front.’
Tactics: started in the back so as not to impede others’ progress. Were pipped to the post near the end by a small family with a pram and a 3-year old who maybe walked all the way.
Result: came in last to a welcoming crew of volunteers who were probably longing to dismantle the finishing line arch and get home out of the rain.
Summary: Last to leave and last to finish, nothing if not consistent! A very special experience to share with family on Mothers’ Day, our enjoyment boosted by the steady presence of our wonder dog, Jiyu, who walked beside Rolf all the way and who, for Rolf, added to the normality of the event. ‘Have dog, will walk’. By the way, Jiyu wore Rolf’s number plus a pink sash from a past event.
Aftermath: Mugs of coffee and a second breakfast. Contentment.
Story by Vyrna Beilharz
The views expressed in these blogs are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily the views of HammondCare or the Australian Government.