Anna’s DofE journey with our Special Friends

I began volunteering for OSF in 2018 for my bronze DofE award and started off walking Timmy giving him two walks on the weekends. I’ve been walking Timmy now for 4 years with my own dog, Charlie, who was just a puppy in 2018 when he first met Timmy. It has been so lovely to see the two of them become best friends over the years and grow up together. I’ve enjoyed seeing how important my relationship with Timmy has become shown by his excitement each week when I walk through the door!

In 2021, while applying to university to study Medicine, I looked for extra voluntary experience to help with my applications and began my second role with OSF helping a lady walk her 4 dogs, Finty, Annie, Ted and Dolly, once a week.  Even though it was just once a week, I found myself soon getting close to the dogs and their owner. We’d spend the walks chatting to each other about both of our lives and I grew to really look forward to seeing all of them each week.

From both of my volunteering posts, I’ve be able to appreciate the impact that these voluntary roles have had on both the dogs and the owners. Initially, when I met Timmy, he was only going out for a walk once a week and was struggling to keep his weight down. It’s been very rewarding to have been able give him the chance to exercise more and see the positive effect this had on his weight.  In addition to the health benefits for Timmy, my role has also impacted his owner. Both ladies who I helped, were lovely to visit with and has always greeted me with kindness and interest. It’s been really great to be able to chat with them both about what’s happening in their lives and what my plans are when I finish school and I have found this social interaction brightens their days.