One of OTD's best canine goodwill ambassadors, Bro, a 7-1/2-year-old Golden Retriever, passed away suddenly this summer 2010.
Affectionate, intelligent, gentle and social, he was, in many ways, a model therapy dog.
Bro was the beloved family pet of Kate, our OTD Administrator and Volunteer Coordinator. Many OTD members will remember the large, red-haired dog from their first OTD orientation session. Wherever Kate went, Bro usually went too. He was an ideal dog for orientations, welcoming new members with a laid-back, relaxed attitude and a friendly, wagging tail.
Bro contributed in many ways to this volunteer organization.
First and foremost, he was a therapy dog that liked his job. For 4 years, staff and clients enjoyed his weekly visits at the "Centre de transition communautaire," a francophone day program for adults with developmental delays operated by OCAPDD.
At first, some clients were a little afraid of the big dog but, He always won them over," Kate recollects.
Staff loved him too. "He had them literally eating out of their hands." There are framed photographs of Bro at the facility and even collages made of him by clients.
Bro also worked for 2 years as a READ dog at an elementary public school in Carleton Place. Visits typically started in the classroom, Bro's favourite place. He and the children, in Grades 2 and 3, got along well.
Each week, 4 or 5 students with reading challenges were selected to read aloud individually to the dog. Usually, Bro's big head would act as their pillow. Sometimes, Bro was lulled to sleep. Kate told the children that he liked their stories so much that it made him sleepy; the same way they felt at night when their parents read aloud to them.
Bro was the unofficial, personal therapy dog of Kate and her family, loving everyone from grandchildren to elderly parents. His best friend Clark, the Boston terrier, was always glued to Bro’s side, if not sitting on him.
Bro's all-too-short life ended tragically in a sudden attack of bloat after a fun-filled, family day at the cottage. They were celebrating Kate's birthday. His last day was filled with playing, swimming, running and being with his family.
Bro died doing what he loved best, having fun and providing lots of love to everyone around him.