The article was written by Jo Haigh Tanner who had formerly Sasha and Diva from us, sadly Sasha has died since the article but she has now adopted one of our older residents Billy.
Having just delivered 60 cans of dog food, 4 packets of biscuits, 5 quilts, a cuddly toy and cheques for over 200.00 to my local branch of the RTG. I had to ask myself why on earth hadn’t I tried to do something like this before? For the last 6 months I had had a niggling feeling that I would really like to raise some much needed funds for our local kennels….so why had it taken me so long?
A gnawing doubt if I’m honest, while my friends had arranged numerous fundraisers for Macmillan, our local school and Children in Need. I did wonder whether there would be any room left for retired greyhound fundraising. The love we have for our two greyhound girls is considered by most of our chums as a bemusing but rather charming eccentricity, so I was a little dubious as to how this view might translate into support and hard cash!
So it was with some trepidation I press ganged or should that be recruited one of my friends a former charity employee and told her of my plans. Emboldened by her tales of raising thousands of pounds for, “Shelter” I had soon abandoned any notion of arranging anything as small as a bring and buy sale and as December was approaching had started making wild plans for a winter frost fair complete with antler wearing greyhounds and a candlelit carol concert. While I also considered recruiting her husband’s band to imitate a live aid type happening with the working title, “Houndaid”.
“I think ” said my chum in measured tones, “that we might be running before we can walk”.
So it was agreed that the initial fund raising activity would be a December coffee morning in aid of Sasha and Diva’s ex kennel mates at Sutton on Trent (The East Midlands Branch of the RGT). In moments of doubt about the popularity of the event, I contemplated the fact that if the worse came to the worse and no one turned up, we could at least console ourselves with large quantities of cake.
A date was set and invitations circulated, requesting our friends to come along with some loose change, a can of dog food and p/or any unwanted quilts. Supportive as ever Judith and John who manage our local branch of the RGT sent us up boxes of Christmas cards, flyers publicising the work of the trust and encouraging words.
If I had thought that people didn’t have any more fundraising left in them…..how wrong I was. As news of the coffee morning spread, help came from many unexpected sources. The long suffering mechanic who miraculously gets my ancient old golf through it’s MOT in a Lazarus like fashion every 6 months gave me a huge slab of dog food, My son’s school friends laid waste the kitchen but designed and baked incredibly delicious cup cakes embellished with chocolate greyhound heads (modelled by Sasha). While my designer friend created a special card inspired by Sasha and Diva to raise funds (it was so lovely I cried and bought most of them myself).
The day of the coffee morning, dawned bright and fair. The house looked immaculate while I Iooked on my last legs having attempted a level of tidying up usually unheard of in our household. The dogs gleamed, the Christmas tree was up and all the best china and cake stands laid out expectantly…
I needn’t have worried you know, we had a blast. Sasha and Diva resplendent in their new collars padded serenely around the room greeting guests like visiting royalty and eliciting gasps of admiration for their glossy coats and gentle natures.
The turnout (my main fear ) was really good, OK we had a couple of no shows but they were more than compensated for by the extra guests that people brought with them. I am forever indebted to Julia who I only met that day but took charge of the raffle and with great charm and humour raised over 30.00. It didn’t matter that the person who won third prize, a dog grooming voucher didn’t have a dog or that we had made far too many cakes (we just parcelled them up and sent people home with them).
Three hours later we were surrounded by coffee cups, cake crumbs, quilts and piles of loose change. Yes it had been hard work but I felt elated. We had managed to raise some money but just as importantly we had raised awareness of the plight of the retired racer and maybe just maybe Sasha and Diva will have helped one of their friends to find their forever home.
So if I can do it anyone can, so go on have a go…I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.