MAN'S BEST FRIEND: Greg Willis and his service dog, Bella who helps him with his clinical depression.
MAN'S BEST FRIEND: Greg Willis and his service dog, Bella who helps him with his clinical depression. Matt Collins

Cattle dog saves clinically depressed man

WARNING: This story contains the topic of suicide.

If anyone is triggered in anyway by this story they are encouraged to contact one of the mental health phone services at the end of this story.

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GREG Willis has been suffering from depression for the majority of his life. But an unlikely friend has put a smile back on his face.

Mr Willis, 61 is from Lowood, west of Brisbane. He is currently staying in the South Burnett town of Wattle Camp looking after his sister's property.

He has suffered from clinical depression for many years.

"I had a good job, a good missus, good dogs, life was quite good. But I always felt there was something wrong,” he said.

They say that a dog is a man's best friend and in Greg's case it couldn't be any truer.

His three-year-old cattle dog, Bella has been by his side since she was a pup.

She is currently in training to become a service dog,

As a service dog, Bella is allowed to go wherever Greg does.

Bella's constant companionship helps Greg keep his spirits up.

"If I didn't have Bella now I wouldn't be here,” he said.

'I WOULDN'T BE HERE': Greg Willis with his faithful service dog, Bella.
'I WOULDN'T BE HERE': Greg Willis with his faithful service dog, Bella. Matt Collins

There have been many times in Greg's life when he has had dark thoughts of taking his own life.

But he recalls one moment when he almost gave in to those overpowering thoughts.

"I was outside the hospital at the PA. I was going to walk out in front of a semi trailer,” he said.

"I was just sick of it. I just had enough. I just felt so bad.”

Greg is not a religious man, but like an angel, a mystery woman grabbed him and pulled him away from the road.

"I was ready to do it and this lady grabbed me,” he said.

"She actually said to me, 'don't do that love, Bella won't like that.

"She knew Bella's name. That just blew me away.”

In a lot of ways, that moment changed the course of Greg's life.

"I couldn't take myself out now, I couldn't do that to her,” he said.

"She keeps me going.

"She has got too much life to give and to live.”

Having Bella has helped Greg see all the joy life can bring.

"The value she adds to my life is just incredible,” he said.

"She does know when I'm down.”

LOYAL COMPANION: Greg Willis and his service dog, Bella.
LOYAL COMPANION: Greg Willis and his service dog, Bella. Matt Collins

NEED HELP?

  • Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14
  • Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
  • MensLine Australia: 1300 789 978
  • Beyondblue: 1300 224 636
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
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