6 July, 2023
Three-legged dog brings joy to Cooee Lodge residents
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
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
And there’s no rest for the wicked, even for old
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.