Hi I'm Andy, I was made a trustee of S.Y.E.S.S.R. in 2016 but it was about 5 years ago that my wife and I got involved with the charity.
Our great canine adventure began just after we married when we were spell bound by a beautiful Labrador called Jill, she had a special kind of calming temperament, a true companion. We had Jill until she was 16 years old.
After a few dog free years and being owned by two cats instead we decided to acquire another dog. We got her from the local dogs charity and she was called Sadie. She was about three years old and was a cross between an Alsatian and a Rottweiler (a true heinz 57 variety) but she had a wonderful temperament. Sadie was a latch key dog, she had to have her wits about her, which we quickly realised when she disappeared one day. Our hearts sank as we thought we had lost her forever, little did we know that she had made her way back to the streets of her old town and was picked up by the local dog warden and was brought back to us. Sadie was a regular Houdini if you took your eye off her, but we always got her back !!
So how do you follow a street wise dog. . . . . you got it a Springer Spaniel. The fun started when a three month old puppy called Holly entered our lives. We soon realised that we, and holly needed training. Puppy class was our first venture into training and it was great fun trying to make a bundle of fluff into a trained retriever. As time went on things were not getting any better and after many Sundays looking and waiting for her to come back we decided, a more formal training was needed, yes we had found out why they put the word springer before spaniel. So one damp and frosty morning we turned up for our very first gun dog training class, and oh how she loved it. It was our very first insight into the life of a working spaniel, and although Holly loved the freedom, swimming and retrieving, I am afraid it wasn’t the career for her, or her handler as the formalities of gun dog training began to crumble when Holly went one way and I went the other. End of and maybe the teacher also!!
Our next venture was the flyball team, which Holly excelled at as a team player. At one of the many shows we attended with the Flyball team we came across S.Y.E.S.S.R. and got chatting to Heather about the work the charity does. We realised just how the charity needed a constant supply of bedding, towels, food and washing materials, so we started collecting anything that would help, including raffle prizes! When the charity moved to kennels in our area we then became involved with walking the rescue dogs at the weekends and if you have ever walked a springer you will know how lively it can be, especially with four or five off lead. But on a personal note it is so rewarding and fulfilling to see the spaniels doing what they love running free and playful. The springer personality also rubbed off on it's owner as I am often roped into fundraising events dressed up in various costumes, much to the despair of my wife and Holly!
Last year I was touched to be asked to be a trustee, it is a great charity, with a brilliant team and devotion and hard work by everybody. We all know it’s job well done when a smiling spaniel face peeps through the car window as it leaves for a new life.