|Dusty & Francis|
(Story by aNt. Pix courtesy of ILTC)
THE PASSING AWAY OF A STERLING MALAYSIAN SERVICE DOG
DATELINE RAWANG SELANGOR:
ONE OF THE FEW working service dogs in Malaysia named Dusty died this morning leaving more than half a dozen residents of the Independent Living and Training Centre (ILTC) in Taman Garing here to mourn for his loss.
|Final goodbye to a hero|
The Golden Retriever came to the self-help group in 2001 as a puppy under a programme run by Bivai Special Dogs, an assistance dog training programme run by service dog trainer Anthony SB Thanasayan who is also President of PETPOSITIVE.
|Rina & ILTC member fulfilling last rites|
"All of us at the ILTC have lost a truly best and loyal friend who gave us nothing but his unconditional love for almost a decade," added the president of the ILTC.
"Despite being paralysed from my neck down, Dusty helped me stay on top of my life. He helped me stay focused in my job of helping other disabled people like myself."
Francis who has been disabled for 25 years said Dusty was also hugely popular with everyone who visited the centre - both the disabled and the able-bodied.
"Walking around and greeting the residents first thing in the morning would almost at once bring a warm smile in everyone's faces," Francis pointed out, smiling briefly as he recollected his memory.
"Dusty would sleep next to me each night. His breakfast each morning was a couple of slices of bread with cheese whilst his main meal was dog kibble in the evening.
"He was also spoilt silly: his favourite food was Bak Kut Teh (Chinese soup with pork) and Char Siew Pau (roast pork steamed buns).
Looking back Siva feels that he could have spent more time with Dusty who always sits next to his wheelchair when he is working on his computer.
Another activity that Dusty used to enjoy with his master was during inspection time of the centre's rooms.
"Dusty would follow me closely with his nose in the air sniffing diligently as if some stranger was going to suddenly pop out of one of the rooms," said Francis with a smile.
"But his best game of all was playing ball in the evenings," said Francis.
"It was a game that none of us could win or take away his focus from.
"He would even ignore the neighbourhood dogs and cats whenever there was a ball in his mouth which he enjoyed retrieving.
"Sometimes, he would cheekily run away with it and expect us to chase after him in our wheelchairs!"
ILTC secretary Gurdip Kaur, or Rina as she is best known, says she will miss Dusty most when she returns to the centre after a hard day of work.
"Dusty would always be there," said the former Selayang Municipality Councillor.
"He would run to my car and before I could get into my wheelchair, I will have to pat him first and explain to him why I'm late for home from work," she added.
"Sometimes when my husband (Francis) and I are very late in returning home, Dusty will refuse to eat until we were both safely home and having our dinner ourselves before he will take his food."
Dusty was bathed regular and even used to go to the groomer during happier days.
He never failed to get his yearly shots and regular checkups at the veterinarian.
The animal doctor would even make house-calls when necessary.
Dusty even took part in a couple of major outdoor events such as at the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia in Kepong when Petpositive conducted an animal-assisted therapy session there and at a Dogathon event at Universiti Putra Malaysia.
Dusty became sick four days ago when his appetite significantly decreased. He also had blood in his urine.
He was promptly treated by his vet who put his illness to old age.
Last night, however, Dusty's appetite returned and he was even walking about.
This morning, however, he had trouble breathing.
Francis and Rina wasted no time to rush him to the vet.
They called for help from a resident in Taman Garing and got Dusty into their van.
But the sterling Golden breathed his last and slipped away in the arms of Rina.
Dusty passed away at 10.30am. He was nine years old.
He was buried an hour later in the compound of the ILTC.
The Golden Retriever got his name from the late Mr HRM Storey, the former political secretary for the late General Templer.
Mr Storey is also known as the father of the physically disabled in Malaysia.
He became disabled later in his life and used his situation to help many other disabled people in Malaysia.
Mr Storey was also adviser to Bivai Special Dogs.
Said Dusty's former trainer Thanasayan to PET+BLOGSPOT:
"Dusty was truly a loyal service dog and companion to the disabled couple activists. He was like their very own son and they his mum and dad."
Please tell us what you think about this story as well as take this opportunity to offer your tributes to the great Dusty.
For more pictures of Dusty during his final moments, go HERE
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