It all started just after my mother died in January 2015. My father who lived at home with live-in carers asked if we could get another dog, to keep him company. The live-in carers agreed they would be happy to walk the dog, so I rang round all the dog re-home places that I could think of. Every single one of them asked the question: “How old if your father”. I replied “89”. Their immediate response was “what happened when he dies”!
I talked about this to a friend, and she mentioned Belinda Johnston’s name and her charity. I didn’t have anything to lose, so I called her. She didn’t ask this question, so I thought she might have forgotten (as if!). So I told her how old my father was … “so what she replied”. Shortly afterwards, I was contacted by Belinda, to inform me that she had found us a dog. I was told that a Terrier/Jack Russell dog was available. A few days later, the dog arrived. When the door opened, I was expecting a small little dog, not a great lump called PIPPA. She was a great success with everyone. A DoE Bronze award volunteer who happened to live in my father’s village wanted to do something for OSF, so it was suggested that she walk PIPPA on a Saturday. She and her mother became part of the family. A couple of years passed, when I asked Belinda how long does the DoE person have to carry on volunteering, I was told she had finished her volunteering 2 years ago, but still enjoyed taking PIPPA out for a walk.
At the end of May, early June 2018, it was obvious that my father was slipping away from us. We knew he didn’t have long left on this earth. I phoned Belinda, informing her that we would need PIPPA to be rehomed, when he died. On the early hours of 14th, we got that phone call from the hospital. I rang Belinda at 9.00am, telling her that Daddy had died. She came round at tea time with a Dog CV and other forms that needed to be filled in.
At 6.00pm, the tenants that run the village shop, which my parents owned, asked if we would join them in the village pub to celebrate Daddy’s life. We asked Belinda, if she would like to join us, as she knew the tenants.
Although I had chatted to Belinda over the years; when she rehomed my uncle’s dog, and when I donated all my cat stuff (when I had to put them both to sleep within a fortnight of each other), we had never really talked. As we sat down, Belinda asked me…. “what do you do?”. I replied, that I used to be a cook, was now admin secretary but looking for work”
As from 1st October 2019, I became a full-time member of staff and I am loving it. Thank You!