Happy at home away from home

August 02, 2017

Retired Ballarat cattle and sheep farmer Ernie Kilmartin loves when Snowy visits.

Snowy enhances the care the nursing home provides.

Snowy with his owner Liz Grogan, who is a pastoral care associate at Ave Maria Nursing Home.

Where did you get him from?

Snowy was a rescue dog from the Herd2Home program. He came down from Port Macquarie and we first met him in November 2016. They said he was 12 months old then, so we say November 11 is his birthday.

How did he come to be a best friend to those at Ave Maria?

We have many farmers and rural men in here and I felt there was some benefit to bringing a dog to work. I didn’t want a small dog but I wanted a working dog. When I saw Snowy’s application, the application read Border Collie crossed with an Irish Wolf Hound. I thought he was going to be huge!

What’s his role at your work?

I bring him to work to enhance the care (we provide) and recognise people that have lived on the land. He plays an important role for recognising these people for who they are.

What affect does he have on the residents?

One man wasn’t well and was reluctant to come out of his room. I would take Snowy to him and he felt safe with Snowy. He always came out with Snowy.

What’s his personality like?

He’s pretty relaxed, pretty smart and he’s intuitive. He has a great sense of where he is needed.

What do you get out of Snowy being around?

I’ve worked alongside Snowy and he has taught me a lot about being a companion and being friendly.

What has been a highlight of Snowy’s life?

As he was a rescue dog, we weren’t sure of his history. We put him in a yard of sheep at the O’Sullivan’s farm and Anthony (Kilmartin) worked him and he picked it up straight away. He is a quick learner.

What is he like at home?

He is still in a puppy phase. He’s forever chewing things, digging holes and wrestling with the other dog. He chews our trees. He’s not a good gardener.

How loved is Snowy here at the home?

I walk him to work and people say, ‘‘Hi Snowy’’ and ask, ‘‘How’s Snowy?’’ before saying hi to me. He’s very loved.

Words and pictures: Rodney Woods

■Do you have a dog or dogs you’d like to nominate for Man’s Best Friend? Phone Rodney the Dog Man on 5820 3259 or email him at: rodney.woods@countrynews.com.au

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