Dogs are not only man’s best friend, for some people they can be a lifeline.
That is why national charity, The Cinnamon Trust, is urging compassionate volunteers to join up and help keep the sick and the elderly with their pets for as long as possible.
For 82-year-old widow Norma Ackers from Abram, Jaffa is her only regular companion with her from the moment she wakes up until the moment she goes to bed.
But following a knee replacement last September, Norma is finding it increasingly difficult to give Jaffa the exercise he needs and she worries he is not getting the fulfilment he used to.
“I’m still wobbly on my feet,” she said. “It takes at least a year for the ligaments to adjust to the new knee which is why I’m so wobbly.
“I can only walk properly with a walker and he has been known to pull the walker over.”
Despite being 14 years old, a ripe old age for most dogs, Jaffa is a staffie crossed with a collie, meaning that he has a lot of energy and strength.
“I’m worried he is bored,” said Norma. “Apparently Jaffa’s breed are bred by people for rabbiting so they have to be fast enough and strong.
“He only gets a short time outside now and when I take him out with my walker I can’t take him very far and he has to travel very slowly when what he really wants to do is run.”
Norma, who has been widowed since 1985, sees her daughter once a week and her son occasionally but spends the majority of her time in her Abram home where she lives alone.
“I have a lady who walks him at the weekend,” she said.
“But now after the operation I really need someone to help midweek.
“Either in the evening or in the daytime whatever is easiest.”
Norma was put in touch with The Cinnamon Trust by social services following a recommendation from her physiotherapist.
The charity seeks to keep owner and pet together for as long as possible with the help of a network of volunteers who assist when daily care poses a problem.
Their aim is to relieve the owners of any worry concerning the welfare of their pets both during and after their own lifetime.
To find out more about becoming a helper for The Cinnamon Trust call Sally or Tressa direct on 01736 758707 or email firstname.lastname@example.org