Karen and Brandy’s story
Brandy is Karen’s second dog from Assistance Dogs Australia. Before Brandy, Gypsy the Assistance Dog lived and worked with Karen for 8 years. Gypsy is now enjoying retirement with Karen’s sister, and is spending her time relaxing at home or playing at the beach. Karen still sees Gypsy regularly, and is delighted that she has remained part of the family. Karen hopes that Gypsy will be a good teacher and positive role model for Brandy too.
Brandy, is getting used to the things that Karen needs her to do on a daily basis. Karen said, “Brandy helps me when I drop something – in the past I would have to leave it or try and pick it up with a stick. She makes me feel safer at home.”
The biggest role Brandy has is helping Karen with her laundry. Karen can’t reach over to load and unload her clothes into the washing machine, so Brandy uses her specialised training to help her.
Brandy places the clothes in the machine and closes the doors, allowing Karen to push the start button. When the laundry is done, Brandy opens the door and unloads it piece by piece – bringing each item of clothing to Karen for her to hang out to dry. This simple task signifies independence for Karen. With Brandy by her side, she does not have to rely on the help of a friend or carer for these sorts of tasks.
In addition to physical tasks around the home, Brandy is also there to offer emotional support for Karen, “She is always there for me. She is my companion.”
“Brandy is a very happy girl, she is really friendly with most people and she is protective of me.”
Karen and Brandy are inseparable, and have created a wonderful bond together very quickly, “We play, we go out together – she goes with me everywhere.”
Recently, Brandy accompanied Karen to her graduation ceremony in the middle of Melbourne CBD, and did a fantastic job of handling the busy crowds and presence of other dogs. Brandy remained focussed on Karen the whole time.