Tag: the dementia centre

The Baxters’ first week with Zorro



“The Waiting time is over and done,

it felt like years instead of months.

The waiting time is over and done,

the dog has come, he’s come! He’s come!


All the wondering of what he’d be like?

This mystery dog revealed at last!

His name, his name? I hear you ask?

Well it’s Zorro, without the mask.


A brain that’s keen with a regal stance.

He is as black as night and lightning fast.

How blessed we are for such a friend,

the wait was worth it in the end.”

by Malcolm Baxter



The views expressed in these blogs are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily the views of HammondCare or the Australian Government.

Expecting a new addition to our family

For many elderly people living with a medical condition, it is a constant challenge and a roller coaster of ups and downs.

My husband Warren has Stage 3 Dementia and as his wife and carer, I would like to share a few words about how we felt when we learned that we were accepted to take part in the Dogs 4 Dementia program.

Having never been a pet owner, and with Warren having good and bad days, I was initially a little hesitant as to how it would work.

I wondered if I would be able to cope with having an assistance dog living as part of the family, I must admit with encouragement from family and friends, I soon came to the realisation that it was no longer about me.

I could see my husband of 55 years was drifting away into a different world, maybe the Dogs 4 Dementia program would not only supply a pet and companion for Warren, but add to the care and friendship that we were already receiving from our close knit family and friends.

After a few meetings with representatives like Deb from Dogs 4 Dementia and Alberto from Assistance Dogs Australia, we found ourselves preparing our home, making room for a newest family member to arrive, much like we did many years ago when we were bringing our newborn children into the family home. Warren would make me smile when he would ask ‘When is my dog coming? ‘Do I need to build a kennel and what will I call him?’

Our day finally arrived, on May 1st 2016 when Alberto from Assistance Dogs Australia pulled into our driveway with Lucky, a beautiful Golden Labrador on board. Now Warren has a reason to get up in the morning, caring for his new companion and mate takes up a good part of his day and also allows me a little bit of breathing space.                                                                                      

Many things can be squeezed out of life when an illness comes in, but thanks to the dedicated and caring people at Assistance Dogs Australia and Dogs 4 Dementia, Warren now gets to enjoy his new friendship and all of the support and care that comes along with it.

IMG_2201                                        “Warren and Lucky – end of day one in my new home.”

Story by Margaret Stoddart



The views expressed in these blogs are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily the views of HammondCare or the Australian Government.

Jiyu has injected a lot of positivity

It is just one month since Jiyu joined us, and I will never forget the sight of Alberto (from Assistance Dogs Australia) at the open front door, smiling broadly as he introduced the most beautiful dog I felt I had ever seen, a gorgeous black Labrador! It was truly love at first sight – and we only hoped that we could be accepted as owners of this lovely boy. Since then, we have had a roller-coaster ride with intensive training under the expert tutelage of Assistance Dogs Australia staff, much walking, investigating new surrounds together, getting to know each other.

We love his typical morning greeting, rubbing his head against us and enjoying a rub in return. While we could take this to be a pure display of affection, we also recognise the unspoken message: ‘time for breakfast’. By nature, Jiyu is calm, soft, well-mannered, affectionate, accepting (of our occasional clumsiness), curious and obedient.

He has accompanied us to hospital, where he lay next to the Rolf’s recliner while Rolf received a routine infusion. He has joined a group of ex-students at  50-year reunion at Melbourne Uni, untroubled by the BBQ’d meat being consumed on all sides. And he has shared a quiet moment of trust at home with Rolf, with his chin resting on Rolf’s hands and eyes locked.

Although Rolf has a major problem delivering words of command, Jiyu is developing an understanding of Rolf’s unspoken intention, delivered mainly by gestures, body language. Rolf summed his feelings up the other day, with a spontaneous: ‘This dog is MARVELOUS!! He is just BEAUTIFUL’. Rolf is one happy man, which is what this is all about. And I share that, in spades!

Vyrna and Rolf


The views expressed in these blogs are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily the views of HammondCare or the Australian Government.