Anne Westcott holds up a picture of her late husband Terry Westcott, whom many in the community knew as the Dog Whisperer. Westcott, who would regularly engage with dogs and their owners walking along the Sidney Waterfront Walkway, died at the age of 80 on Feb. 11. A memorial held Wednesday near Westcott’s favourite bench drew some 80 people and probably just as many dogs. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Sidney dogs lose a beloved companion

Dozens gathered in Beacon Park to remember Sidney’s ‘dog whisperer’

Some 80 people, almost all of them with their pooches, gathered in Sidney’s Beacon Park to remember ‘dog whisperer’ Terry Westcott, who died Feb. 11.

“I’m overwhelmed,” said Anne Westcott, Terry’s wife of 39 years. “He would have loved it. He would have been touched beyond belief. This is the best send-off ever.”

A professional driver, the 80-year-old Westcott died of pneumonia, according to his wife, who added that he had a number of other medical issues. It was a combination of things, she said.

Born in Alberta, Westcott and his wife have been living in Sidney for about 14 years. Unable to have a pet of his own in his apartment, Westcott started to develop a relationship with local dogs. With the help of his personal mobility device, Westcott would go down to Sidney’s Beacon Park, where he would sit on a bench near the park’s bandshell every morning.

RELATED: Sidney to remember ‘dog whisperer’ Terry Westcott

As pedestrians with their dogs passed him on the Sidney Waterfront Walkway, he would strike up conversations with them, earning the trust of both humans and animals.

Brenda Grevers knew Westcott thanks to her walks with her dog, Zoe, who is almost a year old. In a way, Westcott helped to raise Zoe, she said.

“He was the only one who could completely relax her,” said Grevers. “She would just come to Terry, sit next to him and be completely relaxed.”

Westcott also had an engaging, friendly touch with humans. “He was an incredible ambassador,” said Heather Priest, who helped to organize Wednesday’s memorial, along with Tracey Berube and help from others.

“It was a bit of communal effort,” said Berube of the memorial. “We would come here and meet up with Terry. He would give the dogs treats, and then we would go for a walk together. Terry would start his day, and once we had come through here, he would trundle down to Tulista Park, where he had another gang of dogs for which he had treats.”

Priest described Westcott as a very quiet man, who nonetheless touched everybody in becoming a fixture in Sidney’s signature park, no matter the time of the year, no matter the weather. In fact, Priest was at this familiar spot, giving out treats and receiving licks — or “kisses” as he called them – in exchange.

“I feel like now that he is gone, all the sculptures on the benches are going to go too, because he was one of them,” said Priest with a laugh.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

This was the scene Wednesday afternoon as local dog lovers gathered to remember Terry Westcott, Sidney’s Dog Whisperer, who died earlier this month at the age of 80. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Just Posted

Mental Health: Erasing stigma leads to new path for Victoria woman

Paula Roumeliotis struggled with bipolar disorder for 35 years before finding support

COVID-19: UVic Engineering to 3-D print 4,000 face-shields for frontline workers

Team working to ensure Island health care workers have personal protective equipment

Health care workers gain access to virtual health care options

During COVID-19 many clinics have closed, leaving health care workers with nowhere to turn

West Shore RCMP investigates bank robbery in Langford

People asked to stay clear of incident near Jacklin Road and Kelly Road

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

POLL: Will you be able to make your rent or mortgage payment this month?

With the COVID-19 delivering a devastating blow to the global economy, and… Continue reading

Tax collectors, auditors to help field ‘historic’ numbers of benefit-seeking callers

‘If you work for CRA, people think we are just there to take money from your pockets.’

Family uses social media to help truckers find places to eat during pandemic

Restaurants Serving Drivers in Western Canada seeks to provide a list of places open for drivers

Advocates sound alarm over COVID-19 limiting access to contraceptives, abortion

The COVID-19 outbreak has hit sexual-health services from almost every angle

Cowichan couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

B.C. health officer says homemade masks may prevent spread of COVID-19 to others

Practising physical distancing, frequent hand washing and resisting touching your face are proven methods

B.C.’s senior home staff measures show results in COVID-19 battle

Dr. Bonnie Henry’s order restricts care aides to one facility

Independent investigation praises RCMP actions in Vancouver Island suicide attempt

Man hurt in incident that took place near Nanoose Bay in September of 2019

Most Read