A SERVICE at Scalabrini Village this month remembered a respected member of staff who was a proud Bidgee Hurricanes supporter with a love of McDonald’s nuggets.
Harry was loved by all and “made staff and residents happy by walking through the door”.
Harry was also a dog.
The eight-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was remembered in a heartfelt ceremony on October 4 that included a sincere eulogy, songs and the release of balloons.
Owner Stephanie Dickie paid tribute to the pet therapy dog that touched so many lives.
“Harry was given to me at the age of three weeks old,” Ms Dickie said.
“He was a little dog no one wanted but became a dog that everyone loved.”
Harry passed away unexpectedly after a tooth extraction on September 24 after five years of service at Scalabrini Village.
The little dog had the special touch – perfect for working with the aged and disabled – and quickly cemented his place at the facility, where many residents had to leave behind their own animals when moving in.
Ms Dickie first realised Harry’s potential when he helped her through her own difficult time.
The cancer survivor had Harry at her side through her own diagnosis and treatment.
After much training, Ms Dickie and Harry linked with Scalabrini after the aged care facility was approached to start a pet therapy program.
“He would come every Thursday and worked, especially with the palliative care residents,” village manager Lauren Kingsbury said.
“They would brush him and that would get a range of movements in their arms.
“Even if he was just sitting on the floor in the room and a family member comes in, at least they could start talking about the dog and that would break the ice a little bit.”
After the sudden loss, the service brought closure for those who loved Harry.
“I have lost a great friend and a work partner,” Ms Dickie said.
“Harry can never be replaced but his memory and his legacy will live on.”