Tributes flow for ‘the dog man’ who loved his furry mates
EVERY man, woman and their dogs could be at Gary Bennett's funeral service in Rockhampton on Friday and that's just the way he would want it.
Affectionately known to many as "the dog man", Gary, who ran A1 Dog Detailing, passed away at home on Christmas Eve aged 57.
The dogs he washed, clipped and cared for daily were not only his passion, they were his mates.
And all of them are welcome to celebrate his life at the Rockhampton Crematorium, East Chapel, on Friday at 3pm.
Gary, who with wife Anne, bought A1 Dog Detailing eight years ago - a business servicing Rockhampton, the Capricorn Coast, Gracemere, Cawarral, Bouldercombe and Mount Morgan - is being remembered as a big-hearted bloke who would help anyone.
"We had a lady out at Parkhurst, an old lady in a wheelchair," Anne said.
"Gary went out there and clipped her dog and didn't even charge her - he said 'no don't worry about it.'
"That was the kind of person he was.
"And he's done jobs before where people were short of money and the dog needed a bath.
"He'd tell the owners 'don't worry about it, we'll catch up another day'.
"And he never ever did.
"He thought more of his dogs than money.
"We only put the price up twice in eight years because Gary was more into the dogs themselves than making money.
"As long as he had enough to buy some beer, smokes and food, he didn't care."Gary bought the dog washing business after a career as a diesel fitter/mechanic.
"He was out of work and couldn't get a job because of his age," Anne recalled.
"I just told him one day to look outside the box and there's got to be something else to do.
"Gary said he couldn't do anything else - he said he loved animals and he loved fishing.
"I told him he wouldn't make a living out of fishing and then a few weeks later I saw an ad in the paper (for A1 Dog Detailing) and said 'why don't you ring them up?'.
"And we've been running the dog business ever since."
Jo Heinemann, who previously worked with Gary, has returned to help Anne keep the business going.
"Gary was just an amazingly, beautiful, big-hearted man," Jo said.
"And he loved his dogs.
"He'd have a bigger funeral attendance than anyone else on the planet if all of his dogs came along, that's for sure."
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Capricorn Animal Aid - a cause close to Gary's heart.