April is National Pet Month, so we thought we’d share some of the pet stories from the Fostering Foundation team.
Today it comes from our former CEO, Geoff.
“I can never remember a time when I didn’t have at least one dog; most of the time more than one; and most of those dogs have been Labradors or Golden Retrievers. I did stray from gun dogs a few years ago and had a couple of Rottweilers; notably Norman, who was enormous and a superstar. He loved children, but I don’t think he could manage to eat a whole one! See if you can spot Norman in the photos. He’s sitting next to his lifelong companion, Mabel the black lab.
Helen and I have been together now for more than ten years and she has brought another dimension with respect to dogs. Helen is an established volunteer with the UK’s largest charity providing dogs for people with visual impairment. We now have two black Labrador girls of our own, Annie and Sophie, and they go everywhere with us. Their services are called upon to accompany Helen outside a supermarket as part of organized fund-raising campaigns. She is adamant that people give more money if your dog is standing next to you when you are holding the collecting tin. I’m sure she’s right. In the photos you can see how easily Annie and Sophie double as pillows for two of my grandchildren – black labs are very versatile.
As well as a charity fundraiser, Helen has also been a puppy walker, having a puppy live at home from 6-8 weeks old until approximately a year old when the young dog then goes off to be trained formally as a guide dog. Now, though, dog boarding for us is confined to looking after other puppy walker’s dogs when the handlers have to go away, or boarding the guide dog of a person with visual impairment if they have to go away or are hospitalized. I can remember coming home sometimes to find there were 5 dogs in our kitchen, only two of whom were ours!
It’s quite true for us that a dog is man’s best friend and we wouldn’t be without our two girls, or our regular and occasional canine guests. They have never been aggressive; are always friendly and loving, and will take as much affection as you can give them. They keep your secrets safe; never answer back; and are constantly hungry for food! They really do enrich our lives in so many ways. I’m so pleased too that The Fostering Foundation is such a dog-friendly place, with my colleagues being able to bring their dogs with them to work if they want or need to.
If you look at the pictures, you will see Annie and Sophie with some of our short term visitors. There are no pictures of Helen and I together – one of us is always holding the camera.
It’s all a bit like fostering really, but without any stress, and with twice as many legs involved.
Congratulations to The Fostering Foundation for supporting National Pet Month.
All the best.