Littletons WI We had a special guest for our June meeting in the form of a gorgeous Labrador dog named Finley.

Finley is an Assistance Dog and his owner, Janet and Desna McAll, a Volunteer Fund Raiser for Dogs for Good (formerly Dogs for the Disabled), were with us to talk about the charity.

Finley was with us as a working dog and as such we were asked not to pet him until the social part of the evening when he would be off duty and subject to as much fuss and attention as he could take.

Having introduced the speakers President Margaret Potter then asked Mary to lead us in the singing of Jerusalem followed by the business section of the evening.

She advised us that Lou had been co-opted on to the Committee but reminded us that we still need more Committee members. Margaret and Val had taken our food donations from our May meeting to the local Food Bank and Val explained how the Bank worked and said it was hoped we would be able to do make another donation later in the year.

The coffee morning in Jean and June’s gardens had been a great success with proceeds being divided between St Nicholas Church and the WI, the Wi share being shared between a local dementia centre and the Food Bank. This was approved by the members. There had been an article in WI News about curling and this was put forward as an idea for a meeting.

We are entering the competition at the Annual Council Meeting in November and participants are working on their entries. Our August trip to Stanway House followed by tea with Toddington WI has been arranged.

There is a change of speaker for our September meeting and Nick Martin will replace Chris Edwards who is relocating to the west country. Nick will speak on wildlife. Desna was then invited to tell us about Dogs for Good. She explained that the dogs help not just the clients but by association their families and their tag line is ‘Life Changing Devotion’ and they make life easier and more bearable. It is hoped to raise three million pounds every year for the charity.

The dogs used for the assistance dogs tend to be ones which make other people feel safe i.e. Labradors, retrievers or sometimes a cross between the two – soft mouthed dogs.

They breed quite a few themselves but also exchange puppies with other charities to stop interbreeding. In training dogs are exposed to all sorts of experiences – getting off buses, shutting doors etc.

They are housed in dedicated bed and breakfast establishments during training and attend a training centre during the day. There is a huge waiting list for the dogs, currently over four thousand. The dogs do eventually get trained by a trainer together with the client themselves aiming to deal with that clients special needs and learn amongst other things to empty washing machines, dressing the client and to give emotional support. Finley is a National Trust Volunteer at Crombe Court and if he is wearing a coat there he is in working mode, this is taken off to denote he is in free time. Desna judged the competition which was An Animal Related Item and this was won by Jean Bayliss.

For further information including fund raising events contact June Lloyd on 01386 830844 or view our website on Margaret Dalton