Leigh Snow Humanity Award 2008

 Kathleen & John Warren
Kathleen & John Warren with David Snow

Kathleen and John Warren and their dog Maddi, an Irish Water spaniel (Lindessa Corip Madeline), have been visiting at Lakeside Special School for the last seven years.

The children at Lakeside Special School range in age from five to nineteen and have varying abilities. Some are confined to wheelchairs, some have limited language and limited mobility, others have no real mobility problems and some are quite chatty but regardless of their age or ability level all have established a relationship with Kathleen, John and Maddi. One child, at first, screamed in terror when Maddi came to visit his classroom – he now greets her with enthusiasm and will heel her along the veranda, giving sit, stay and down commands – although he hastily hands the doggie treat to Kathleen or John as Maddi come to sit before him.

Maddi has not lost her enthusiasm for weekly visits over time and still races around the house when either John or Kathleen put on their Delta shirts – she knows where they are going and can’t wait to get there.

There are many more strings to Kathleen and John’s bow’s – almost always at branch meetings they participate fully in the branches activities. Participating in all fundraisers with Maddi they never tire of being asked what breed she is by the public at shopping centres and events. Christmas sees our branch perform our annual Christmas pageant at many of our facilities. Kathleen was the initial instigator of this event and every year she and John attend all the performances (which grow in number every year as the word gets around!!) The volunteers and their dogs don their Christmas finery and perform figure eights, sits , downs, stays and recalls – all orchestrated by Kathleen , with music management by John. Maddi is always a hit as she ponders returning on recall and does so at her own pace… much to the amusement of the residents.

Kathleen, John and Maddi were nominated for their consistent contribution to the Hunter Newcastle Branch over the last seven years.

Post script: It is with much sadness that we must inform that Maddi passed away on Friday August 29, 2008. She will be greatly missed, not only by Kathleen and John, but also by her friends at Lakeside Special School and her fellow Delta volunteers.

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