I first came across OSF when a kindly young vet from a Newmarket Equine Practice introduced me.
I had lost my beloved horse, despite doing everything possible to save him. I was totally broken at his loss. I felt I had let him down, and just wanted him back.
It was early days for OSF and Belinda called me to chat, and offer support. It’s often easier to discuss personal issues with a stranger, who is objective, and makes no judgements.
I thought OSF’s aims were really inspirational, and would help people, who often had no one to turn to. At the time I was a volunteer for a cancer charity, I’m a qualified beautician, fostered for a local dog rescue, and also carried out homechecks for rescue pets.
In 2016 I was made homeless. I had to turn to friends and acquaintances for help. I had 3 large dogs, and an elderly, poorly cat at the time. I could have gone into homeless accommodation, but not with my animals. After a couple of weeks, sofa surfing, I had to find something better for my poorly cat. Again, so fortunate that my amazing vet agreed to take him as a boarder. Wonderful, kind people who never turn anyone away.
I was fortunate to have help from a professional involved in homelessness, and housing. He knew the system, and had a network he could contact. So after a short spell in a caravan, I was offered sheltered housing in East Cambs. At last I could be re-united with my cat, and have a decent environment for my dogs. I couldn’t foster, but I did walk an elderly neighbour’s dog, and helped out wherever I could.
In 2018/19 I moved into my present home. I was then able to resume fostering, and home checking. OSF had always been on my mind, I had often mentioned it to others. So in 2019 I contacted OSF to enquire into volunteering. After a reference and a DBS check, I was quickly able to start training/volunteering.
I have quite a wide knowledge of dogs, cats and horses, having owned and worked with them, most of my life. So I’m able to offer dog walking, and local transport.
It’s very rewarding to be able to offer support, where needed and pay back the vital help, I received when I was in trouble. My philosophy is, if you can help, even in a small way, do it.