Bee has been volunteering for 8 years: with Wiggo and Kauto by her side!

I don’t know where the time has gone but apparently Wiggo and I have been volunteering for Our Special Friends for 8 years!  I find it very rewarding visiting with the dogs; Kauto joined in with the volunteering soon after she came to the Chapman household four years ago. Visits are great for making me slow down – as so many people do these days I rush round trying to fit so much into each day, with work, fitness, dog walking and training, socializing, gardening and, very low on the agenda, house work!  On a visit we stop and ‘just be’ taking the pace from whomever it is we’re visiting.

Currently we visit Maureen; initially we were aiming to walk with her to encourage her to stay active – she has always been a keen walker and dog lover – but a fall has put a stop to any rambles for the moment. It’s so wonderful to see Maureen’s eyes light up when she sees the dogs and I know they get as much out of the visits as they tank along through the complex she lives in and stop by her door with tails wagging!  On our last visit she said that they are her ‘favourite visitors and it’s such a treat to spend time with them’

The visits can often serve to highlight a potential health issue or problem which can be reported back to HQ and the office team will alert the appropriate people.  Having the dogs seems to open up lines of conversation – this happened many times pre-Covid when we visited the Newmarket Day Centre and people would offer up information about themselves that had never arisen without the dogs’ tongue loosening presence.

We have done so much through Our Special Friends, from going to events as ambassadors for the charity and spreading the word about the important work they do, cheering on my husband who ran the London Marathon for OSF, walking dogs, run canicross races, lots of training  much of it helpful to all areas of life and met some wonderful people.

So if you’re thinking of volunteering I would highly recommend that you go for it, there are so many ways you could help and it really is rewarding!