I was on the committee of a charity dog show and Our Special Friends took a stand; I loved the idea of the work they do and wanted to get involved. After all I am privileged to have wonderful dogs in my life and it would be selfish not to share them!
My first role was to walk a lovely yellow Labrador for an elderly couple with health problems. Goldie was quite shut down when I started but two walks in she was greeting me enthusiastically and loved to explore new places. Goldie became a member of our family pack and even came on holiday to Cornwall with us
We started visiting the Newmarket Day Centre next, just with Wiggo originally as Kauto was yet to join us. Wiggo is a very outgoing dog and loved it immediately. He relished showing off his tricks and moves and equally enjoyed cuddles and attention.
His number one fan at the Day Centre is Margaret and I will always remember the first time he sat on her lap; it was so touching to see her virtually inhale him with closed eyes whispering ‘you are so lovely’ again and again. She seemed lost in a world pop that just included her and that loving dog.
Kauto has since joined the team and is a gentle, sweet soul that loves her visits; she has gained so much confidence with Wiggo’s help. Both are ‘rescue’ dogs but I think they do a bit of rescuing themselves.
It is so rewarding to see the joy the dogs bring (and get) from their visits. Most weeks we visit Arthur who is in a residential home and lights up on seeing the dogs as well as the Day Centre.
In April the dogs went to support my husband Nik who was the first runner to run the Virgin London Marathon for Our Special Friends. They were impeccably behaved in the Big Smoke and I think Nik was more pleased to see them than me at the finish!
If you’re debating whether to volunteer for Our Special Friends I can thoroughly recommend it. I have met some fabulous people and find it incredibly rewarding.