Volunteer Profile : Meet Friendship Dog Milli and Catherine

I’m Catherine.  I’m 64 and I worked as a mental health nurse in the NHS for 39 years.

My parents had a German Shepherd dog when I was born and when I grew up we rescued an Old English Sheep Dog and more recently a Chocolate Labrador but I had never raised a puppy.

So, after we retired,  my husband and I decided it was ‘now or never’ and along came Milli. She is the cutest Cockapoo: inquisitive, clever and mischievous in equal measures.

She pretty much chose us when we went to see the litter and I was immediately smitten.

We actually brought her home the day before lockdown. She was a godsend during that time, giving us a focus and a reason to go out for walks. The only downside was that she couldn’t meet anyone for months and the grandchildren could only see her through the window.

So time marched on, restrictions eased and I kept busy in retirement with my various hobbies; crocheting, music, yoga and Zumba but I was beginning to feel that I wanted to do something ‘useful’ but I didn’t quite know what.

A friend happened to come to stay with us for a few days just after Christmas this year.  She loves Milli and she said to me that she thought Milli would make a good Wag Dog.

I had no idea what she meant, so she explained and we looked on the website and it didn’t take long for me to realise that this was something I thought I might really like too.

I completed the application and within two days Milli was having her assessment.

I had read up on what it entailed and I knew that Milli could do all the elements but I didn’t know whether she would do all of them that Wednesday afternoon. However, I needn’t have worried as she sailed through everything with flying colours.

My DBS cleared very quickly and within a few days we did the ‘Getting Started’ session electronically. It was very comprehensive, all backed up on the website for future reference.

And then we met our new friend Linda who we visit in her own home.   Linda has worked with all sorts of animals and has had dogs all her life but, for various reasons, she isn’t able to have one any more.

I spoke with her on the phone and she was very excited to meet Milli and so off we went!  The first visit included Charlotte who had referred Linda to Wag, I was nervous and Charlotte’s bus was delayed but we got there in the end and we had a lovely first visit.

Linda had cooked chicken for Milli, crocheted her a cushion and bought her a squeaky ball which she loved chasing round the flat!   I think Milli may have paid more attention to the ball than Linda but we’re working on that!

Charlotte said she had never  seen Linda smile so much – which was a lovely thing to hear.

Milli and I have been twice more since and now Linda waits at the window for our arrival and she waves when we leave: cuddles and treats in between and a new ball each time.

I am so looking forward to developing my Wag experience with more visits getting to know Linda and possibly other dog loving people too.

By the wag of Milli’s tail; I think she is too!????