A THERAPY dog that put smiles on the faces of countless sick children on the Border for more than six years has died after being attacked at the weekend.
John and Phyllis Bowers’ dog, Paddywak, was everyone’s best friend as he visited the children’s and rehabilitation wards at Albury Wodonga Health as part of the therapy pets program.
Tragically, he was attacked by an American staffie as Mr Bower walked him and fellow therapy dog, Lucy, on Kaitlers Road at 8am on Saturday.
“It is just a terrible way for him to end his days when he has brought so much happiness to so many people,” Mr Bower said.
Paddywak was seriously injured in the attack and passed away just after midnight despite the best efforts of veterinary staff.
“It’s devastating to us because they’re part of the family and we always refer to them as our kids,” Mr Bower said.
Mr Bower, who was also injured in the attack, said Paddywak had touched the lives of hundreds of patients during his hospital visits.
“People don’t understand how much the patients get out of it, it lowers blood pressure and a lot of the older people in rehabilitation have left their dogs at home and they get quite upset so we go in and try and cheer them up,” he said.
“We always say we’ve got to get past the staff to get to the patients because all the staff love the dogs as well, it’s just really sad that it’s ended this way.”
Mrs Bower said she had been involved in the therapy pets program for more than eight years.
“It’s been so rewarding, the kids’ eyes just lit up when we put Paddy up on the bed, it’s just amazing, you’ve got to see the response to really understand it,” she said.
Mrs Bower said the loss may mean the end of the pet therapy visits but a decision had not been made.
“It will probably mean the end of our visits, I think, finding another dog who would be suitable will be difficult because when we started out our dogs were specially trained,” she said.
“Paddy will be remembered with love and with a hell of a lot of affection because he was just a beautiful little dog, he was so friendly.”
The staffie was surrendered to the ranger.