RESCUE ARE OUR FAVOURITE BREED – A DOG IS FOR LIFE

RESCUE ARE OUR FAVOURITE BREED – A DOG IS FOR LIFE

If you are reflecting on buying a family dog or puppy this Christmas, before you go down the road of expensive designer breeds, please consider a ‘Rescue’.

If you are not familiar with your local Animal Rescue Centre, you will be welcomed with open arms, and not just by the owners.  Nine times out of ten a dog will adopt you.  It is a magical phenomenon I have witnessed over and over, with friends and neighbours who have taken in rescue dogs who have then become part of their family.

Take Taffy for instance, who looked a bit like Tramp in the famous Disney film.

A very good friend Jan rescued him from a fate worse than death when he was tethered for several months on a farm, and almost given up for dead by the cruel owner who had discarded him.  Taffy had a bad foot infection which had not been treated, due to neglect, and Jan spent days nursing him back to good health with the help of the Blue Cross, the Animal Charity, as she was on a limited budget.  Taffy became her soul mate for many years, and they both really did live Happily Ever After.

A very good friend who is happily well-heeled was introduced to rescues over ten years ago, and has adopted several dogs ever since.  Lizzie is fortunate enough to be able to transform an entire room and conservatory area for her five rescues, of all shapes and sizes as their own domain, whilst allowing them to surround her and her husband in their living room in the evening.

Lizzie is convinced that since adopting rescue dogs, her depression has decreased ten-fold, and has written articles and appeared on numerous radio programmes, championing the ‘Rescue’ breed, and how rescuing and owning a dog can support and even cure a big part of mental health issues.

Visiting an Animal Rescue Centre will open your eyes to so many wonderful dogs and you will also be creating such value with these poor discarded and often abused animals.  There is bound to be one near you, just check it out and go along.  You will know immediately when you clap eyes on your new family member, and it is strongly believed that they will too.

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BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH – BECAUSE YOU’RE WORTH IT

BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH – BECAUSE YOU’RE WORTH IT

 

We have been reading a lot about the importance of getting checked out for early signs of breast cancer, and there has been immense coverage on television, which is commendable.  But very little coverage on the scariest part, which is the wait after the mammogram to be given the results.

So I would like to talk about that openly, and you the old saying ‘if you look fear in the face’, and in this case I would urge you to do the same.

As someone who has breast cancer in the family, I had been putting off having a mammogram, which I do know was not my best decision, but apparently a very common one.

Several friends urged me to go year after year, saying that they would come with me, and we could make a day of it afterwards either shopping or going to the local cinema.  But I just couldn’t face it.    I couldn’t even bring myself to say it to my nearest and dearest, but the mammogram itself didn’t scare me – but the wait for the results did.

Why I didn’t seek counselling or at least talk to someone about it I have no idea, but over ten years passed until I plucked up the courage to go.  It was a random letter from the local Healthcare Breast Screening Unit with an appointment was the offer I couldn’t refuse.

I went for the Mammogram alone, and the practitioner asked me the obvious question and when I told her it was just over ten years, she said she would put me down as having my first one, as the film would have been destroyed after ten years.  She also advised me that I may be called back for an ultrasound as they would have nothing to compare it to.

I then received a letter to say I had been recalled.  I was naturally panicked, but read the letter carefully and apparently 4 in 100 women are recalled and only 1 in 4 are diagnosed, so the odds are 75% in favour of a good outcome.  Did that make me feel better, perhaps a little, but I still went to those dark places until the day for the ultrasound arrived.

My very closest friend offered to come with me and I agreed this time.  I needed a friend as it was a bit like going back for a second interview for a job, but this time I didn’t want to be selected.

The ultrasound was uneventful and they had spotted an area of concern, but couldn’t diagnose until they had done a biopsy.  This was then done and was uncomfortable but not painful, and I was then told there would be another short wait.

In the meantime, I prepared myself for the worst, and spoke to girlfriends and family members who had been through breast cancer and discovered that even if I were to be diagnosed, the chances of survival were extremely high.  Also, the progress of the treatments in the past few years had made everything a lot easier and with incredible results.

This was probably the most anxious time, waiting for the result, but fortunately for me it was in my favour, and I resolved to have annual mammograms, although they offer them every three years.

I am telling my story because the fear of the outcome is almost scarier than the diagnosis itself, good or bad.  But as someone who had avoided being checked for so long – I could have avoided putting myself through such angst by a simple test and living with the short discomfort of waiting for the result.

I also wanted to share it even though it wasn’t a walk in the park, so that those of you who share my concerns about waiting for the results, and haven’t had a check for years, if I can do it so can you.

So I am urging all of you ladies out there who are sweeping it under the carpet.  Please take advantage of all the wonderful support we have today, and whatever the outcome you can do this, and chances are it will be a routine check with a positive result.

For help, advice and support check out https://www.macmillan.org.uk/
And look out for one of the macmillan coffee mornings near you
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GET UP TO SPEED THIS CHRISTMAS – YOU ARE IN THE DRIVING SEAT

GET UP TO SPEED THIS CHRISTMAS – YOU ARE IN THE DRIVING SEAT

 

As someone who has never had a speeding ticket after 25 years of driving, it was a great shock to receive one in the post this year.

My close friends who knew me well told me ‘welcome to the club’ as they had known me as the ‘careful and deliberate driver’ who not only had never had an accident, but apart from the odd parking ticket, had never had a driving conviction.

There has been a campaign on this Winter which I am sure you have heard, about parents speeding whilst taking kids to school or driving in general, and it made me think about why I had got this speeding ticket.  It was mere distraction as I had a lot on my mind at the time, and there is a limit as to how much even I could multi-task.

So this public campaign is strategically placed as when you a lot going on like work, entertaining, kids holidays, extra shopping on top of the normal pressures of life – it is only human to falter just for a moment – which could cost you your licence – or worse – someone else’s life.

Also, be vigilant as it is not just you, but be aware of the madness on the roads leading up to Christmas.    Even with the endless warnings about drink driving, and with one or two glasses of wine or spirits, it can affect people in different ways.  I remember being given a random breathalyser years ago.  I had drunk one vodka hours before and of course I was not over the limit as I am super careful, but the police told me that some people are affected by just one or two units.  (We had got chatting because they had seen me in a recent episode of The Bill).  This can give you the confidence to speed up when you shouldn’t, or miss a pedestrian crossing the road randomly if you aren’t concentrating.

Last year I was collecting my young grandchild from school and a very young girl ran across the driveway to the school without looking.  Thankfully my reflexes are really good and I slammed on my breaks, but if I had been planning my Christmas party in my head, I wouldn’t have been able to do that.

I hope I haven’t depressed you too much and I apologise that I am not writing in my usual way about something a little more aspirational like fashion or health and beauty, but I felt compelled to throw a shot across the bow just for once, even if it reaches just one person and saves someone’s licence or even someone’s life.

Happy driving and have a great festive season everyone.  I hope it is full of joy and laughter and light, and remember if you are overwhelmed or over tired, please book a cab or go on public transport – after all you can’t put a price on safety, and you will be able to enjoy the rest of the holiday without a hitch.

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