Member of the month – December 2020

Name: John
Area: North Shropshire
Dogs: Shetland Sheepdogs… lots of them

I started visiting with dogs in about 1995 when I lived in Chester.

My parents, who we had looked after at home, moved into a local nursing home and I would go each evening to visit them, and of course I would take a dog.

I found that, not only was it bringing them pleasure, but it was also taking me increasingly longer to be able to leave the building as more and more people wanted to make a fuss of my dog.

As I was still working, we joined a similar charity as supporters until after my parents passed away, when we moved to North Shropshire in 1999 and I was able to start visiting with dogs properly.

I have always taken two dogs along on each visit as it gives more time to each person. This went on for about a year, then other homes in the group decided that they would like visits also and so I soon acquired another three homes plus two more on a monthly basis.

I was therefore busy on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday mornings; also, for one year I did a visit to a secure hospital for adults with severe learning and behavioural difficulties.

Seeing happy elderly people was extremely rewarding, but to see the difference in the mental state of the hospital patients was amazing.

My dogs tend to be the lap/bed sitters who will lie still and take any amount of stroking (and very often a little pushing and pulling).

My visiting team consists of the sable & white girls: Nancy, with daughters Noosha and Kate, and the blue merle girl, Faith and her daughters Halle (tricolour) and Macy (blue merle).

Kate and Bridget (who is currently busy looking after her three puppies) usually attend events with lots of people, such as nursing home functions and Discover Dogs at Crufts, where they enjoy being the centre of attention and making a huge fuss of people.

My black and white girl, Esme, was runner up at a charity dog of the year in 2011 at Crufts. Soon after that I had cause to find a new charity to support and luckily, I found Canine Concern.

After chatting with the wonderful Eve Waring at Canine Concern over 10 years ago, I realised I had found a really caring organisation which seemed like a family and with the hard work of Val and Brian it continues to be an extension of my family to me. They are always so approachable and always have the time to listen and give advice.

I am also an assessor which I think is helped by being a breeder for over 20 years under the affix of Castlerose.

My wife, Jane, does not visit but helps in the background with grooming and health issues. She concentrates on dog showing and judging up to international standard (visiting Moscow was interesting).

Sadly with this lockdown my visiting has been suspended for the moment but I still manage to keep in touch with some of my friends by video calls and I can let them watch the puppies grow up, which is always popular.

I look forward to seeing all my friends, both residents and staff, in the future.

Until then I will try to keep people aware of Canine Concern and keep our name out there.

So now I must get ready for my December job… different uniform – still, I quite like red and white.

P.S. Lily, my new black and white puppy will be eight weeks old at the beginning of December.

Canine Concern Comments

John and Jane remain one of our greatest supporters and John is also one of our assessors. They both picture the ethos of what Canine Concern means and is all about. We thank you both for all the support and hard work that you have given the charity.

Only one problem….John may be missing towards the third week in December and trading his dogs for reindeers, have a look at his photo! Sorry John, we could not resist this.

To John & Jane and all of you at this exceedingly difficult period at Christmas time, our thanks, love and gratitude to all those who have supported us.