He instinctively knew what to do from the get-go. He loved to visit with everyone and had a very gentle way about him. He put everyone at ease, yet he commanded such a presence with his head held high and processed such confidence; he was such a joy to visit with.
Born in Missouri, Brent was kept by his breeder as a kennel dog. He was later moved to Ohio and remained in a kennel until a breeder friend of mine brought him to her kennel in Perth, Ontario. Brent had sired one litter with my girl Gabby. When Gabby and Brent were bred again I wanted to get to know Brent, not just as the father of my puppy, but a real dog. I brought Brent home for two weeks, which turned out to be many years, right up until he passed.
He was a “diamond in the rough”, a bit of a “Wildman” in the beginning, not being familiar with living in a house, yet after three short days; I could see the potential in this boy. I had trained obedience classes and shown dogs for years, yet this boy was one of my biggest challenges as far as obedience work. I took Brent to obedience class and he attained his Canine Good Neighbour, next he showed off his stuff in the show ring, becoming Canadian Champion Quapaw’s I Believe N Miracles. So where did the idea of therapy work come into play? When Brent was taking his Canine Good Neighbour class, a member of Therapeutic Paws of Canada (TPOC) was working with her dog there and asked me if I had ever considered therapy work. I could see that Brent indeed had the disposition and temperament for the job, so we signed up to be evaluated.
In June of 2006 Brent and I went to the training hall to take part in an evaluation, not knowing what we were about to be in for as I had not been privy to any information regarding the evaluation. It was a very warm day and we were one of two teams that passed on this particular day. Next came the monitored visits, at our home facility, the Helen Henderson Care Centre in Amherstiview, Ontario, where we certified as a TPOC therapy team.
For almost seven years Brent and I visited at the Helen Henderson Care Center. We had a great time there visiting in all areas of the home, retirement living or assisted living, long-term care and the “Gated Community” as I like to refer to secured areas. When Brent turned ten, the staff of Helen Henderson gave him a huge birthday party; we invited some of our team-mates, in all we had six visiting dog teams and one visiting cat team. We visited with over seventy residents, family and staff. I have many fond memories of the time that Brent and I visited together; however this one stands out; this truly was therapy work at its best. I was not only so very proud of Brent but my fellow team-mates as I saw the resident’s faces light-up with smiles!
On March 5, 2011 at the ripe old age of ten Brent was tested to work with children. I had always wanted to have him evaluated, but we couldn’t get an evaluator to come to Kingston. I was the Kingston Evaluator and certainly couldn’t test myself. We had none either than Judy Sauvé, our founder and Chair of TPOC evaluate us. No pressure at all! Brent did amazingly well and with two monitored visits was Child Certified.
Brent also worked in the Paws to Read Program® at a local Kingston library, where he listened intently to young readers, some as young as three. He loved everyone, however children were his absolute favorite people in the world! Brent and I did many Special Events working with children and a Spring Break Program in Elgin, Ontario that was most memorable. The librarian at the Elgin library requested a couple of photos of Brent and myself reading with children at our local library for a poster. A picture says a thousand words and the power of a dog; Wow! the turnout was fantastic, we received the biggest and warmest welcome that this small village could give anyone!
At home Brent was referred to as “Caesar’s Daddy” because he was so well-balanced and could put anyone at ease including other animals, both cats and dogs. We walked every day, come rain or shine and our walks were long ones as Brent had to stop and visit with everyone he met. One of his favorite haunts was a neighbour Daycare where he was well-known. He just loved all those tiny fingers, rubbing and poking at him. If a child was upset or cried he instinctively went to them, as he did when he was visiting with Seniors. He lived with his wife Gabby and their daughter Kayley and was the leader of the pack.
Sadly we had to say goodbye to Brent on August 26, 2015. He died at home with his family, including his canine family at the age of fifteen and two days old. He died of complications from pneumonia. I would like to thank him as he took me places I would never have dreamed of in my life-time. I hold him dear to my heart every day.
Barb Kelly TPOC Kingston, Ontario