Christmas Message from our Chairman

A Christmas Message from our chairman.

I am writing my message for the winter edition of the Link on Remembrance Sunday whilst listening to an online service from my parish church. What a strange year it has been and continues to be as

Richard Best

we start another four weeks of restrictions in the hope of some normality for Christmas, I would normally be walking through the village with a great multitude of children from Scouting and Guiding all neatly washed and pressed and keen to impress the members of the British Legion who always come to say thank you to the children for attending at the end of the parade. This year the British Legion will visit us at our virtual cub scout meeting on Zoom which although it has enabled us to continue in some form is not the same as meeting face to face. The children have struggled with the loss of contact with friends and relatives particularly grandparents and they in turn have struggled without hugs and cuddles from their grandchildren. I was waiting to meet a friend for an Autumn walk at Wisley Gardens recently and it was like watching the opening scenes from the film ‘Love Actually’ but with friends meeting and exchanging awkward air kisses and gestures of embrace rather than touching until a toddler noticed his Grandma and Grandpa walking over and rushed for a big hug.

Many of us will know of someone who has been lost to this wretched virus and I would like to thank everyone involved in the charity for their patience during the restrictions, we are functioning again but in a mindful way I hope as whilst our work is valuable and important it is not so important that anyone should take additional risks on our behalf. Certainly my email inbox has been busy in the past few months, I seldom hear about the fit and healthy, my mail can be roughly divided into deciphering complicated veterinary histories for dogs requiring new homes and deciphering complicated veterinary histories for the supported dogs. We are fortunate that due to your wonderful support for the work of the charity we are able to help both the young, fit and healthy dogs to find a loving home but also the elderly, ill and sometimes badly behaved as well.

Many will know that I am a great advocate for Christmas, a great light in the midst of Winter and whilst I am also a fan of Winter (the dogs don’t seem to care what the weather is like do they?) I appreciate that it can be an isolating time with poor weather and short days keeping us indoors and compounded by the covid restrictions this will be even more significant this winterand so this Christmas I am urging you to lengthen your Christmas card list rather than shorten it. I understand that many will have been affected financially by the virus and that it is expensive to purchase cards and stamps but whilst the charity will appreciate any donation and make good use of your donation I would ask this year that you use your donation to both purchase our beautiful Christmas cards and a supply of second class stamps (last recommended posting date Friday 18th December) and then look at your Christmas card list and see who you can add. I won’t write them for you but perhaps you could consider ‘ hope you are well, give me a call when you have a chance and lets catch up’ or perhaps ‘ it would be lovely to see you and get the dogs together for a walk, ring me’.

Social media can make it seem that we are keeping in touch with friends when really all we are doing is seeing snapshots of what they wish to show us and it takes a cup of socially distanced tea, a pub lunch (when we are allowed back into pubs) or a dog walk to find out what is actually going on in people’s lives. I have recently lost a friend to depression who I had falsely assumed was doing okay because of positive social media posts and in making an extra effort to contact my friends I have discovered that many have been struggling with the pressure of working from home and the additional challenges of dealing with medical issues during the pandemic so I have renamed the charity Labrador South East and Christmas to encourage you to be more Labrador this Christmas and reach out with a wet nose and a waggy tail to your friends and family and arrange a walk and a chat and if at all possible a splash in a muddy puddle and it all starts with a Christmas card.

My very best wishes to you and your dogs for this Christmas and the New Year.