This is an ode to Odie, the happiest therapy dog you will ever meet. This rescue dog is turning two this month and is eagerly looking forward to his cake — a tin of tuna turned upside down with a candle on top. Delicious!
Owner Jacqui Shannon says Odie is a koolie with perhaps a little bit of kelpie and a lot of love to give. He was just three months old when she became his foster mum through Pawfect Pals Animal Rescue. Once deciding to adopt the little ball of fun, Jacqui brought him into her office at Frankston City Council to show him off to her colleagues. Everyone fell in love with Odie instantly, and it was suggested that he could be the council’s wellness dog. With approval from the CEO, council staff were asked to suggest names for their new companion. After 125 submissions, OD was the winner because it stood for Office Dog and Organisation Dog, and Odie was created.
His path to becoming a certified therapy dog occurred by accident. After puppy school, Jacqui wanted to complete some further training with Odie so the pair took on a six-day therapy dog and handler course at Lead the Way. He passed the prerequisites with flying colours and took on the course with ease. Six months later Odie turned one and blitzed his recertification course. Jacqui passed as a therapy dog handler too and is frequently asked for dog tips from her colleagues. “I was so tired and it was nerve-racking, but Odie made me look good,” said Jacqui. “He always excels.”
Odie visits the office on a demand basis and even has his own email account and calendar for bookings. Each week he accompanies Jacqui to the office for Wellness Wednesdays, a day that can also entail Odie joining a walking group and a running group. Two walks in one day — how lucky! He’s become a regular lunch break buddy, meeting attendee, special birthday guest and of course there is always a friendly face eager to take him out for a toilet break. Odie visits all council departments and creates a positive vibe wherever he roams. Any staff member having a stressful day will request some time with Odie during their break — ball games included.
“He brightens up the office,” said Jacqui. “People love to see him and they always have Smackos or liver treats hidden in their desks. Odie knows who has them and exactly where they are. He is making life in the office and our wider community better. He is a positive influence.”
This celebrity is also an athlete — a mud-loving athlete — having competed with Jacqui in the Paws Explores Muddy Dogstacle adventure course in October that raised money for Assistance Dogs Australia. Odie’s achievements were also recognised by the council with an award acknowledging his ‘pawsome’ work. And we hear he celebrated with his favourite healthy snack of carrots and apples. This acquired taste comes from his time as a puppy eating the scraps that the horses dropped on Jacqui’s farm, where he thrives on jumping on hay bales and joining in for rides around the paddocks on the four-wheeler. Odie’s work ethic continues at home, where he takes his role of foster brother very seriously to any new furry friends that Jacqui fosters. Keeping them company and spending time teaching them the ways of the farm is just the type of dog he is.