A Personal Canine Epiphany

Have you ever wondered why dogs are described as man’s best friend? I believe it to be based on something far more profound than just a full stomach. Appreciating the need of an animal is something that requires focus and some degree of inward reflection. Having lived with a lifetime of depression and anxiety, I am well placed to appreciate the value of a friend, and an understanding snippet of advice, when abandonment and rejection seems inevitable.

This is exactly why I was introduced to the idea of volunteering by a support group some years ago.

I was inducted as a volunteer dog-walker and I need not have worried. Disability is not a barrier at Jerry Green. Rather, the person is welcomed and nurtured. This was of huge value to me and it gave me a boost and a new direction.

The dog-walking experience is now part of my life. And now, eight years later, I am still enthusiastically looking forward to my bounce through the undergrowth with a new four-legged friend each week accompanied by my wife. Some weeks I test my limitations and walk in the woods alone; this is something that would have been impossible before my introduction to Jerry Green Dog Rescue.

Witnessing a devotion to a cause such as this, that is true and unclouded, is a genuinely uplifting experience. Being associated with like-minded people such as the staff at Jerry Green is piquant and vibrant. The experience is amplified when seeing the life-direction of a dog, whose vulnerability has been exposed by circumstances beyond its control, changed from one of uncertainty and threat to one of hope and happiness.

Canine joy is tangible. A few years ago, I had a wonderful experience. I had been walking a large Japanese Akita - for some weeks at Blidworth. This poor fellow had been in kennels for some years and re-homing was a challenge. Then, one day I was asked to cut my walk short to return this dog to the centre as he was – at last – going to a new and loving home. As I handed the lead over to the kennel staff, the dog turned to me…rose up on his hind legs…put two huge paws on my shoulder…and looked at me longingly in the eyes. The message was a transference and it said this: “I’m going now. Thanks for all the walks!”

If that isn’t a testimony to the value of volunteering with Jerry Green then I don’t know! My time with Jerry Green has seen the centre develop. We now have a purpose-built environment that glows with love. Every good story needs a happy ending and I have seen my fair share here. Joyous!

Written by Andy and Catherine - Nottinghamshire Centre Volunteers