West Lake Terrace honours therapy dog Gibson at a memorial service

Gibson, who recently passed away, served as a much-loved volunteer at the home for five years

West Lake Terrace residents and staff members said goodbye to a valued four-legged volunteer who spent five years bringing love and happiness to everyone at the Prince Edward County long-term care home.

A memorial service was held at the home Aug. 11 to honour Gibson, a pug owned by volunteer Lesley Campbell. Gibson passed away recently and the loss has deeply affected residents and staff members, says life enrichment co-ordinator Janie Denard.

“It was a very emotional day for the residents and staff as we said our goodbye to Gibson,” she tells The OMNIway.

Gibson, a St. John Ambulance therapy dog, began his pet-therapy journey at West Lake Terrace in 2016. In addition to West Lake Terrace, Gibson and Lesley volunteered at three retirement homes in the area as well as at Hospice Prince Edward, Pathways to Independence and Community Living Prince Edward.

“Gibson touched so many people during his time with us, and Lesley did so much for our home we can’t begin to express our sincere appreciation to her,” Janie says.

“A resident commented to me (after the service), ‘we lost a very special member of our family. No one could ever replace our Gibby.’ ”

Indeed, Gibson’s volunteering services were valued at West Lake Terrace. During special occasions and holidays, Gibson would show up at the home in costumes, such as the Easter bunny or as a pumpkin at Halloween.

After the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March 2020, volunteers were not able to visit West Lake Terrace due to safety restrictions in place. However, Gibson and Lesley still made regular window visits to say hello to the residents and staff members they were missing.

Janie says the memorial service was emotional. At the same time, everyone felt grateful to have had five years of visits from Gibson, she adds.

“Lots of tears were shed, but we also feel very blessed to have had Gibson become a part of our West Lake Terrace family, and (we) witnessed the true unconditional love Gibson had for our residents,” Janie says.

If you have a story you would like to share with The OMNIway, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.

If you have feedback on this story, please contact the newsroom at deron(at)axiomnews.com.