Maddie, Heron Terrace’s beloved therapy dog, passes away

The gifted sheltie leaves a legacy of making a difference in people’s lives
3/11/2019  - Deron Hamel
Pet-therapy dog Maddie spends time with Heron Terrace resident Dorothy McLelland in this 2011 photo.  

Heron Terrace has lost a special member of the Windsor long-term care home’s caregiving team.

Maddie, a 14-year-old sheltie, passed away Feb. 14. Maddie was a St John’s Ambulance Therapy Dog. For 10 years, she visited Heron Terrace residents twice a week.

When Bob and Gillian Linton first got Maddie they planned to breed her; however, she developed an eye imperfection that disqualified her from breeding, so Maddie found another calling.

Maddie joined the Border City Barkers Agility Club, a group of Essex County dog enthusiasts whose mission is “to practice and promote dog agility sports for mutual owner and dog fun, health and to encourage good dog citizenship in Windsor and Essex County,” according to its website.

Maddie quickly proved to excel at every activity she participated in with the club. Above all, she loved to interact with people, Bob says in an e-mail.

Eventually, Maddie became a St. John’s Ambulance Therapy Dog and would make regular visits to Heron Terrace.

“Her speciality was her ability to sit on someone’s bed or chair and stay focused on their face for 10 minutes; sometimes a seemingly oblivious person would open their eyes or move their hand to stroke her,” Bob says.

One Heron Terrace resident with a visual impairment especially loved to spend time with Maddie, Gillian told S&R Today in 2011. As soon as the Lintons entered the gentleman’s room and announce their presence, he would exclaim, “Where’s my girl?” Gillian said at the time.

Maddie was also a child certified dog, which allowed her to work with young children at hospitals, schools and libraries. Her favourite thing was visiting a local library where young children read to her.

“Again, she would stay focused and look at the book and the child reading, to the extent that the children were sure she was also reading,” Bob says.

Maddie truly made a difference in the lives of others, and that will be her legacy, Bob says.

“Over her life, Maddie brought happiness to hundreds of people, always showing her love for them,” Bob says. “She will be greatly missed.”

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