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Community & Business

6 July, 2023

Three-legged dog brings joy to Cooee Lodge residents

By Emily Middleton

Bruiser the three-legged dog is causing smiles and creating memories over at Cooee Lodge, with his charming ‘pats please’ attitude. Karen Thiele has been bringing her beloved furry friends in since starting at Cooee Lodge in 2010.

Initially starting as a personal care, kitchen aid, all round helper, Mrs Thiele overheard the diversional therapist mention how nice it would be to bring in animals.

“So, I did just that,” she laughed.

“I would have a day off and I would bring chooks, rabbits, the pet budgie a couple of times.”

One day even, the horse paid the residents a visit.

“We would line the residents up outside on the verandah and we would walk the horse past them so they could get a pat. We didn’t have a miniature pony at that point so we couldn’t bring the horse inside,” Mrs Thiele explained.

After getting nervous the horse might bowl one of the residents over, Mrs Thiele stuck to animals that could only be brought inside.

“I eventually brought Raven in, the miniature pony. On our very first trip we were inside with her, running up and down corridors, going into each person’s rooms.”

Since then that one pony turned into eight ponies, and Mrs Thiele has said the residents haven’t been happier.

“Raven went in dressed up as the Easter Bunny for Easter earlier this year, she didn’t really appreciate the tail we made her.”

But now Raven is in foal, Mrs Thiele is concerned about her urinating on the floor, and Raven’s big (little) brother has had to step up to the job.

“Bruiser the dog would always come along on the visits, but he was never brave enough,” said Mrs Thiele.

“He has no snap or bite in him, he’s just scared. I was worried that picking him up and forcing him into contact with someone would upset him, but as it turns out, he is the opposite. “He goes and sits beside the residents and waits for people to pat him.”

Mrs Thiele explained that Bruiser has three legs, but that doesn’t stop his determination. When a resident is having a rough day, Bruiser always seems to know, and will hop, skip, and jump just to be next to you.

“He knows when people aren’t happy, or have something going on. The residents absolutely love him, and he loves them.

“When I get his collar to go at home he races around the house, he knows hes going to work, he loves going to work.”

And there’s no rest for the wicked, even for old Bruiser.

Bruiser can often be found getting a manicure, or asleep under residents’ feet during bingo. It’s a tough life. Mrs Thiele washes each animal before bringing them into the lodge.

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