In March, through the combination of Facebook pages, Belinda posted a request for someone to walk a dog in Haverhill, as Our Special Friends (OSF) had a client but no available volunteers in the area. Anita from Weight Watchers, very kindly asked her group for a volunteer and Lisa stepped forward, having never heard of OSF before that appeal.
Lisa has been with Weight Watchers for a year; she has a target of losing seven stone and alongside the mixture of good healthy eating habits and portion control, walking is her main exercise regime. Not content with walking her own dog Rocky, a nine year old Labrador/Terrier cross for an hour and a half session every day, Lisa felt another good walk would add to her calorie expenditure.
So once back from Rocky's exercise, Lisa sets off again, walking one mile to Margaret's home where she picks up Titch, a Patterdale Terrier, walking him for 45 minutes, returning him and walking the mile home again, four times a week! Margaret said "Lisa makes a huge difference to me, Titch sits waiting at the front door for her; she just loves her and it takes a load off my mind. "
In the past, Lisa was looking after her own parents and had been grateful for the help from volunteers on the Hospice Good Neighbour scheme. When her father died and her mother was in a care home, Lisa had thought about volunteering for the Hospice but was thinking that sitting still and having a good chat, and possibly - the ultimate sacrifice - being offered a piece of homemade cake, wouldn't do much for her activity levels.
Then she heard about OSF and this dog. Bingo! This was paying something back and more exercise - all for a very good cause. As Lisa says "I like the social side and being outside, people talk to you, animals are a such a common ground, this suits me really well, I want to continue as long as I can, I enjoy it."
And I can report, this is definitely a win-win scenario: Titch gets his lovely walks, Margaret is happy knowing Titch is fit and Lisa has lost five stone!