Frankie and Simon find the perfect solution in Our Special Friends
After sadly losing our own special friend Fifi at the end of 2019, and unable to have another dog of our own, my husband and I came across the charity. It was ideal! We could get our doggy fix and help those in need of support. Following our recruitment, we were approached to ask if we could help with a case in Barrow.
When we first met Bobby in December 2020, he was a very overweight, 8-year-old golden lab with laryngeal paralysis, a condition that prevents him from barking and affects his breathing. He was in desperate need of exercise. At first, he did not engage with us. He pulled on the lead so much that Simon had to take the lead. He was not very well socialised with other dogs and we were worried about aggression. He is very friendly with other dogs but exuberant. Over time, we tried walking him with an extendable lead and I had more success with this. When we returned to his home, he would go straight into the house for a drink while we chatted with his owner.
We came every Saturday at 11:00 am for months and eventually, he knew when we were coming and was waiting for us. He started to greet us, wagging his tail and running around us in excitement before dragging us for the walk. By April 2021, Bobby had lost nearly 13 kg and started to have a waist! That was so encouraging and his breathing was so much better. Now he waits on the porch and says goodbye to us and his owner reports he would stay there until we drove away.
One day, we brought a ball that our dogs had and he was scared of the squeak it made. We were surprised that a retriever didn’t know how to play or fetch. We started kicking the ball along the ground and eventually, he started to chase it. He would not pick it up but he was chasing it and sniffing it. After a few weeks of chasing and sniffing, he finally picked it up and carried it! We were thrilled and praised him so much he looked slightly confused. We now throw the ball and he chases it and is excited when I throw it up in the air.
It is really lovely that he now looks us in the eyes and is happy to see us. He appreciates us and we love that we are helping him. We hope we can help get his weight down again. We hope that by introducing some stimulation and fun into Bobby’s day that he is happier. He is certainly a different dog with all of us walking him and we know how much he loves his walks and sniffs.
More recently, we responded to a Google Group call out for dog walking in Bury St Edmunds. We agreed to meet Poppy, and her current walker, and ‘see how we went’. Two days before our match meeting we received a call to say that Poppy’s owner had been taken into hospital and was there any chance we would be able to foster her. We agreed to meet as planned on Sunday and, all being well, we would foster to reunite. Well…fast forward to Sunday and little Poppy, a sweet collie x, came home with us! Poppy has settled in really well and after the first couple of days (where she was still deciding if we were worthy of her company!), her tail is wagging and she is loving her walks. We are loving having Poppy and she has been completely unphased by visitors…just enjoying the extra ear scratches! It is great that we are able to help Poppy whilst her owner is unwell and are in close contact with his family with updates and photos. We hope this is alleviating some of the stress on the family during a difficult time.