A dog-gone story turns to elation
By HANNAH ROSS
SUFFOLK Park cancer survivor Berkley Wiles is relying on his new Pets as Therapy companion animal to help make his life worth living, just as his faithful dog Molly has done for the past 10 years.
But when Mr Wiles went to pick up the animal, called Jessie, from the Ballina airport on Monday, the skittish pooch bolted from the airport car park and headed straight into nearby bushland.
Beside themselves with worry, Mr Wiles, his wife Margaret and daughter Emily have spent the past week searching the area, posting notices and enlisting local media to inform the public about the missing dog.
But their despair turned to elation yesterday when Jessie was lured out of the bush with the assistance of a dog trainer friend who had brought along her two labradors and some dog food.
A bedraggled golden retriever had been sighted by airport staff and Ballina locals, but by Thursday night the Wiles family were wondering how much longer Jessie could survive.
"This has been the most stressful few days for us as a family. We have all been feeling so guilty about her running away," Mrs Wiles said.
Jessie had lost three kilos during her ordeal and is now being kept firmly indoors until she settles into life with her new owners.
Mr Wiles, who suffered a malignant brain tumour 10 years ago and now has Menieres disease, said he would not have made it through his illness without Molly, who is now 12 and in need of some nursing herself.
"I could take her for walks and she was always there, even when my wife was at work and Emily was at school," he said.
"She saved my life."