Christine and Griffle help out thanks to Christine’s employer!

In 2017 my little Caitriona was just turning 3yrs old and I was looking to volunteer with her for a fun and worthy cause. I came across OSF on the Volunteer Suffolk website and not long later we were matched with dog walking 3 lovely little ones once per week. A few years passed, with more dog walking and some dog fostering and then Covid-19.

As with many, we didn’t do anything for a while, which I was quite sad about. Also, the difference in Caitriona was not pleasant. She missed her doggy time as much as those we help. Being in a private rented home with a (then) under 6yr old meant that finding a rescue dog suitable for us was very challenging. Then in Feb 2021 a young Lurcher needed a forever home through OSF. We were more than delighted to be contacted and offered this opportunity.

The difference in Caitriona’s mental health over the first month was positive and the continued difference over this first year has been comforting for us parents to see. Our Griffle has made the biggest most positive change for us and has been a joy.

Keeping in touch with OSF, I watch the emails to see when we can help. And although I have done a little dog walking, this years’ Bury Christmas Lights Switch On, presented the chance for Griffle to do her part. Donning her high-vis vest and her pleasant personality, she greeted all with visible and non-visible disabilities. Her calm nature often soothes even the most wary.

And I want to add, this opportunity to attend the lights switch on was supported by my employer. Over the years I have always fit any volunteering around my work. However, in summer 2021 my employer announced our Volunteer Policy. The support to attend one full day of volunteering without affecting pay / holidays / sick leave etc. It is a great initiative and one I hope other employers can also offer.

Christina, Caitriona and Griffle.