12 FOCUS - JULY 2017 “From a street dog in Istanbul to a therapy dog in Port Perry” is the caption Larry Corrigan sent along with a photo of his dogAndy to the Golden Rescue organization. How did the retired teacher, former town councillor and Catholic Church Deacon come to adopt a rescue ani- mal from Turkey? Larry admits to grieving deeply when his canine companion Ben, 11, had to be put down. He de- cided that his new project would be to work with a therapy dog. He got connected through Golden Rescue. “Because of the chaos and economic upheaval in Turkey, dogs were let loose in the forest or on the streets if their owners could no longer care for them. Someone took the initiative to round them up in a temporary shelter and arrange for new homes in Canada and the U.S.,” said Larry. On January 15, 2016, after an 11-hour flight, Andy arrived “kind of stressed out, dirty and in need of a bath,” Larry recalls. But he had that fa- mous friendly golden retriever personality, perfect for therapy work. Andy required some basic training (sit, stay!) and then went on to St. John’s Ambulance certification program. “He had the right stuff,” Larry said. Andy remained calm during stressful test situations. “He’ssomewhatspecial,”wasLarry’sunderstatement. Eight-year-old Andy Divine (named after Roy Roger’s sidekick) is a popular visitor at West Shore, where he delights everyone with his affectionate nature, including Larry’s mother-in-law. “Everyone who loves dogs” looks forward to seeing Andy and Larry on Tuesdays. The twosome also regularly visited the nursing home in Kingston where Larry’s sister- in -law Joyce resided, before her recent passing. Suffering from dementia, “She couldn’t put two words together.” But when Andy nuzzled her face, Joyce surprised everyone by exclaiming, “You are a good dog!” Even the staff was amazed. Andy was welcome to attend Joyce’s funeral. Larry observed that his dog’s comforting pres- ence seemed to bring everyone together harmoniously. Larry has become a student of the latest research on the benefits of therapy dogs for people suffering from memory loss, patients in pal- liative care and students undergoing orientation at new schools. “The role of therapy dogs helping people who are going through the grieving process also has great value and purpose,” Larry feels. “Andy’s story is one of transformation,” he noted, and Andy, in turn, is helping to transform the lives of others. LARRY & ANDY’S STORY Andy watching closely as Larry hands over a treat for him to resident Poldi Mair. ...................... Please turn to page 15 Therapy Dogs (continued from page 11)