Puppy Love

Sitting on the kitchen floor with 10 labrador puppies climbing all over you, they’re not doing anything for you intentionally, just playing and being very cute and cuddly. For you, it is heartwarming, energising and can even be medicinal, as they take you back to a place of total innocence and pure joy. Personally, I get all of this as a result of giving a small amount of my time.

How much time do you have available to give to do small, big or even massive things? Charitable donations and philanthropy is something that is a gift by many and it doesn’t have to be reliant on having masses of wealth, resources and time. Because in many instances, people with far less are proportionally far more generous with their time and finances for the betterment of others.

This is not designed as some preachy way of making people feel good or bad for their charitable doings or lack of community support. The question is about what small things can we do cumulatively that make the difference? Therein lies the key terminology – – ‘make a difference.’

As a family, we’ve been volunteers for the Guide Dogs for many years. And at the time of writing this, our brood bitch Mini is currently pregnant with four to six puppies, according to the recent scan.. A previous brood, Zita, gave birth to 12 in one litter! Our focus now is on looking after her as best we can, shorter walks, plenty of food and lots of love while she waddles around, clearly uncomfortable and not particularly enjoying being so heavily pregnant and feeling tired.

When I calculate the cumulative impact of our individual support for the Guide Dogs it reads very well, albeit very small compared to some other volunteers, but that doesn’t matter; this is our bit. We’ve had just short of 40 puppies over the years and have boarded 15 dogs in training, some who have been successful and others were reassigned afterwards because they weren’t fit for purpose for their work within the Guide Dogs.

While puppy love is something many crave as part of personal therapy and enjoyment, many people do not like or are scared of, dogs. In the case of a blind colleague of mine, he doesn’t want a Guide Dog because, in his words, “how am I meant to know where to clean it up after it? No thank you!”

I don’t share this story as a brag or showing off, it’s to highlight that each of us has stories of things we do in the background that make a difference for others. Our family has been involved throughout this journey to the extent when my now 6ft plus son was tiny, he would use Zita as a stepping stool to climb up onto the sofa; that’s how gentle these dogs are.

The main reason why we don’t is because of time and believing that we don’t have enough time to do it. We all have the same amount of time as the next person – 24 hours a day, seven days a week, etc. We all have ill-serving habits that use up time on a regular basis making us feel we are time-poor – you know the ones I mean, screen time, social media, TV, alcohol, I won’t go on! There is so much work to be done where just a small amount of cumulative help will make a difference within your community or local-sport, your schools volunteering as a governor or a magistrate; there are so many things we can do.

Here is the question: what are you able to do? Just small amounts cumulatively, little by little, day after day, week after week. In the same way, we try to do it for our exercise, diet and wellbeing. Puppy love is one way that I make a difference; what way could be yours? And yes, if you asked me nicely, I’ll send you a photo of the puppies when they arrive.

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