Beyond the initial crippling shock of the first few days – when you can barely think straight, every other thing you say is “i just can’t believe it”, and you use all your energy either crying or trying not to cry – you briefly look up and into the future and think WHAT DO I EVEN DO NOW?
I’ll think I’ll explore that thought in a later post – it will probably only make more sense after I have shared a little bit more about Milly.
In the interim, however, we have a plan. A purpose. A focus.
Matt (my amazing husband) and I are going to turn our pain into som ething positive, and raise funds for Epsom Canine Rescue… and for the friends that Milly could never have. We’ve had a whole bucket of “free-time” thrown at us now so we are going to use that time to train for a half marathon. Although we are both pretty fit – we cycle and train weights – running is not on our current agenda (our Strava accounts show half a dozen short runs between us) so this is going to be big challenge.
We have chosen the Run Reigate Half Marathon on 16th September 2018. It is a race we support every year as it comes past our front door – literally! – so it feels like the right one to sign up to in Milly’s memory. Her “world” was very small – 90% of what she knew beyond our home was a circuit started by coming out of the bungalow and turning right – it therefore feels fitting to me to be following in a few of her paw prints as we take on our run in her memory.
ECR are a local dog rescue charity who I got to know indirectly through Milly a few years ago. Milly needed help, I needed help to help her, the amazing Penel & Laura at Dog Comm were there to help me, and through them I found ECR. Social Media did the rest and they became my preferred charity. I’ve made donations (cash and piles of stuff), visited them at events, baked for their cake sales and in 2016 I started walking the kennel dogs at the weekends. It wasn’t her fault but Milly didn’t cope well with this.. she could not understand why I came home looking muddy and smelling of dog.. where had I been without her? Who were these dogs?? She used to just look confused and a little bit betrayed and that hurt my heart. It was a sad by-product of my weekend activity, and I just couldn’t explain it to her or make it ok 😦 On one occasion when I had been hugged and kissed particularly hard by the loveable but boisterous Ben I took my clothes off in the front hallway and threw them all out of the front door, before dashing through the house into the shower before Milly could even realise I was home. I know she still knew! Of course you can’t trick a dog’s nose with a fancy body wash, but it was the best I could manage to take the edge off. I know the lovely Tracey from ECR goes through the same attempt at trickery every time she walks at the kennels too.. like Milly, her darling Cassie also needs to be the only dog on the planet, or, at the very least, in the postcode.
Anyhow, I digress. ECR. So over the last few years I have got to know ECR very well and count them as my friends and, luckily for me, part of my all important support network. Being a long established registered local dog rescue charity doesn’t mean a rescue centre, a shop premises, office staff manning the phone, an enormous army of volunteers, corporate support, secured funding, a CEO on the payroll, a fundraising manager, an advertising/marketing team… ECR is a handful of truly dedicated (frankly truly wonderful) individuals who make it their life’s purpose to rescue & rehabilitate ill, unwanted & neglected canines and give them a second chance. ECR HQ is someone’s home, the dogs in their care are either in kennels or foster, most of the volunteers juggle their families, their own dogs and their day jobs, holidays are few and far between, vets bills are huge, days are long – cleaning out the kennels, feeding & walking the dogs, vet runs, training/behaviourist appointments, and fundraising is just a constant wheel that has to be spun.. and all whilst LOVING and CARING and WORRYING for the dogs.
They amaze me, and I don’t know how they do what they do… which is why we are taking the chance to support them in a different way this year (noting that Matt’s famous coffee cake & scones will still be made for the Pets at Home cake sale).
I’m a bit of a believer in “things” and “signs” and “connections”. Not quite as much as my wonderful mum (worthy of a whole post) but everything about this challenge seems to fit. So once the speck of thought came into my head on Monday it was an unwavering yes from me.
Our fundraising target is probably a bit unrealistic, but my options were:
31/03/03 – Milly’s birthday, 31/10/09 – Her gotcha day or 3029 – The number of days she shared with us
So, as you see, 15th February 18… £1,502.18 is what it has to be!! If I have to make it up to the total myself I’m fine with that….
Like everything, it is because Milly…
Our fundraising page is here, thank you in advance for reading:
You can read more about ECR and other ways to help here:
And in case anyone wants a Half Marathon challenge of their own: