The meeting on October 11th was chaired by our President, Sarah Pennington. Walks had continued enjoyably in fair and not-so-fair weather and the walkers would continue to meet in front of the Church at 9.15 a.m. on Mondays. The meeting of the Book Club on 25th September unfortunately had to be cancelled and has been re-scheduled for 7.15 p.m. on Monday, 30th October, at Sally Wilson's house, when the book will be “The Road Home” by Rose Tremain.. The diary for next year is almost complete, and as Mrs. Goetz will be talking to us about “Windsor Castle”, it was suggested that a trip to Windsor later in the year (possibly in August) might be arranged.
Our speaker was Andy Clarke, a founder member of Woofability, a volunteer-based organisation training assistance dogs for disabled people and children with Down's Syndrome. Andy described how life-transforming these dogs can be, providing help and companionship for people both young and old whose horizons have been limited by disability (or in the case of former servicemen or workers in the emergency services, suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). He was accompanied by Baba, a delightful and gregarious Labrador/Retriever cross, who was happy to demonstrate some of his impressive skills.
Woofability favours an extended 3-year training regime for their dogs which means that they have an enhanced success rate (95%) of happier and more confident animals.
Needless to say, the number of requests for dogs far exceeds the supply, but in some suitable cases the organisation can also train disabled people's own dogs. They also run a Puppy Sponsorship Scheme and more information can be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org or www.woofability.com.
Andy (and Baba!) were warmly thanked for giving us this heart-warming insight into an organisation which aims to mitigate the loneliness which can be such an unfortunate added effect of illness and disability.
Our next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 8 November, at 7.30 pm in the Village Hall, when our speaker on “Patchwork and Quilting” will be Mrs. V. Dubben. All are welcome.