Adventures of Bex & Perci
I am the owner (or should I say, ‘he owns me’!) of a goldendoodle called Perci. Perci also has a sister called Nellie, who should have been called Bellie, and because of her propensity for food will never make the grade as a Canine Concern care dog.
I have always wanted to do therapy work with my dogs but up until Perci came along, I never had the right one. I knew as soon as Perci’s four big paws landed with us that he was The One. He is like a big chocolate teddy bear, an intelligent one at that with the biggest heart, a loving nature and a very cheeky streak. Being a cross between a golden retriever and a standard poodle he has that beautiful temperament without the shedding, always a bonus for the clothes and carpets.
Prior to passing our Canine Concern assessment in 2019, I saw the absolute delight that my dad Bryan got from Perci’s visits. The pleasure a dog can give the elderly is incredible; cuddles, love, and of course a tummy full of biscuits (Perci, not dad).
We began visiting our local hospice, St Nicholas Hospice in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.
We quickly found that Perci was a big hit, not only with patients but their relatives, who are often suffering emotionally almost as much as the patients are suffering physically, the staff whose work is incredibly tough and the back-office staff who keep the wheels of the hospice turning. Each visit varied incredibly, Perci just loves making people smile, and he is more than happy to accept cuddles from each and every person who needs it.
To see him lying on the bed of an end-of-life patient with them just holding his ears or stroking him makes you realise what a privilege it is to volunteer for Canine Concern with a dog who can make a difference to someone’s day. I recall one visit when very poorly lady wanted Perci on her bed, the staff made it happen and the lady’s very young granddaughter put the bunny ears on Perci from the Girls’ big night out fundraiser that she had taken part in.
To see the whole family smile and laugh including the patient reinforces why we do what we do.
We are an active family and own a motorhome fondly called the Doodlebus. This year we embarked on a 6-month trip around the coast of the UK. I wanted to use the trip as an opportunity to do some fundraising for Canine Concern, putting something back whilst having fun. I chose to do a virtual walking challenge, the North Coast 500, which was 516 miles. I chose that as we were actually doing some of the route in the Doodlebus. My aim was to raise £250, complete it in six months and to walk every mile with Perci & Nellie.
We kept a blog and had 224 of our friends joining in on our adventures, including staff at the hospice and friends from Canine Concern. What actually happened was that four paws and two feet completed the challenge in just four months and smashed our target, raising £635 for Canine Concern, a pawsome effort by the chocolate furry ones.
We had an incredible trip but sadly I lost my dear dad Bryan whilst we were away. He was 96 but it was so tough, knowing that we would never see him again, or that Perci & Nellie would no longer get ‘grandad cuddles’. He adored the dogs (more than me I think) and relished their visits, as did the other residents of his sheltered accommodation. It was very fitting for him that we asked for donations in his memory at his funeral to go to Canine Concern, which means a bit of him lives on in Perci’s work with the charity. We received £255. The total of £890 makes such a difference to the charity’s work.
Personally, I am a firm believer in trying to make the best out of each and every day. I have friends ask me, isn’t the hospice a sad place? My answer is always, “honestly, no”. Yes! sometimes visits can be difficult but the balance is coming away knowing we have made a difference. My big chocolate dollop, as my friend calls Perci, has no idea how lucky he is to be able to make people smile and how lucky I am to own him.
We will continue our visits to the hospice as long as Perci is happy and comfortable doing them and we also look forward to next year’s Doodlebus adventures which will see Perci and Nellie putting their paws into Europe, which will be very exciting as neither of them bark French, German or Italian.
Canine Concern Comments
When Bex and Perci joined us in June 2019, she certainly started a fantastic journey for herself and Perci as well as for Canine Concern. I have enjoyed reading about her experiences visiting the hospice as well as the Doodlebus adventures. I am sure many others have felt inspired by the fun posts of their adventures with Nellie and Bex’s lovely husband, Adie. They make a lovely family willing to help so many whilst having fun and raising so much extra funds as well. I always push the fact that this organisation wants its members to have fun and enjoy the amazing voluntary work they do. Bex, Perci, Nellie and Adie you are all AMAZING!