Friday 17th February
As part of their fundraising, Greyhoundhomer are a frequent presence at public events and shows around Essex; you will also find them outside supermarkets rattling their collecting tins – obtaining money is an essential and relentless pursuit….
Today, the charity was invited to “Paws in the Park” at Beam Parklands in Essex – an interesting park development which is cared for by a team of community rangers who organised the event. Being half-term, the Rangers had hoped for a big attendance and had planned fun activities for visiting hounds and their owners. With this in mind, Greyhoundhomer took their big trailer which was full of goodies for dogs and humans (including my home-made jam and marmalade) – the trailer is great because it provides shelter for the human and hound volunteers if needed.
We turned up 10am and got set up – although the park is a welcome green space in the somewhat disjointed mix of Barking industry and housing, there were very few passersby around. Nonetheless, the team got set up while I snaffled an Indigo Dreamer (Sue B, who has come on many charity cruises with us) to look after jellyboy Ty and I kept an eye on Lou, who was having a royal time barking at Shadow and Blaze, Greyhoundhomer’s more polite representatives! It is very important to have hounds at these events – they are the best ambassadors for the cause and it’s a fact that ‘the public’ give money to dogs not to people!
As you might have guessed, Lou really enjoyed the attention – we had a quite a large team from Greyhoundhomer as we’d been led to expect hordes of visitors. Lou made the best of her considerable personality to get the team of malleable greyhound lovers to do her bidding re. fuss, treats etc .Ty just wedged himself into the corner of the trailer and concentrated very hard on worrying about stuff. Though, in all fairness, he was relatively calm and much less of a jelly boy than we’ve seen in the past. There’s no doubt that he’d have much rather been at home in his safe bed but he coped well – I was very proud of him.
Unfortunately I was public enemy No.1 as far as he was concerned – it took me the best part of 15 minutes to get him out of the house and into the car, ignoring his big hints that he really didn’t want to come 🙂
Although I enjoyed catching up with the other Greyhoundhomer volunteers, the event itself was a bit dispiriting, despite the relatively mild weather and dry conditions underfoot (i.e. great dog-walking weather). In the end I doubt whether even half a dozen people visited our stand, and I get the impression that they were random dog-walkers who’d been surprised to find our stall there. The team of Rangers were very disappointed – I think they’ve worked very hard to organise and publicise the event – they even managed to get two local reporters/photographers to attend. They are hoping that if they get some local press then it will boost attendance at future events – they have quite a few planned – I’ve put a list of dates at the end of the post.
Despite the poor attendance, I’m still glad that I went along because:
- Lou enjoyed the stimulation without taxing herself with too much walking (her joints can’t take it)
- It does Ty good to have new experiences (even if he doesn’t agree!)
- It was good to catch up with old friends
- It was interesting to sell my own jam – people seemed very taken with the fact that I could tell them about how, when and where I picked the fruit!
- It was a great insight into how hard charities have to work to raise funds
If you have the time, I would encourage you to get involved in charity fundraising – even if it’s only 1 hour a year, rattling a tin outside a shop. It’s a rewarding thing to do and surprisingly insightful if you go along with an open mind…..
Paws in the Park 2012 – Barking & Dagenham
- 17 February 10.30am to 12.30am Beam Parklands
- 24 March 11.00am to 3.00pm Mayesbrook Park
- 26 May 1.00pm to 4.00pm Beam Parklands
- 30 June 1.00pm to 4.00pm Barking Park
- 14 July 1.00pm to 4.00pm St Chads Park
- 25 August 1.00pm to 4.00pm Barking Park
- 8 September 1.00pm to 4.00pm Eastbrookend Country Park
- 22 September 1.00pm to 4.00pm Mayesbrook Park