THERE were tears from members of the audience in Cowdray Hall at Easebourne when Hounds for Heroes co-founder Allen Parton told his moving story at the annual meeting of the Arun and Downland Gun Dog Society.
Allen explained to his listeners in a very matter of fact way just how deep a pit of despair and bitterness he was in before a dog from Canine Partners came along and rescued him.
Over a very short time Endal, who had been puppy walked by one of the society’s members, Judith Turner, made Allen smile, laugh, talk again.
Endal also enabled Allen to get out of the house to start a useful life again, but most of all he grew to love his new four-legged friend.
It was this bond of man and dog and the realisation that dogs could help the disabled physically as well as mentally that encouraged Allen to co-found Hounds for Heroes to help the 900,000 wounded servicemen and women, including the army, navy and air force as well as the fire, police and ambulance services.
The new charity is based at Steep and Allen pointed out that Hampshire was one of few counties that had all three services based inside its borders.
“Disabled people,” he said, “no longer just sit in wheelchairs, they play sports, jump out of aeroplanes and walk to the South Pole so they need a dog with special abilities, too.”
He explained the finances of the Hounds for Heroes charity which pays for the dog from start to finish.
It has help from PetPlan and Burns Dog Food and all the charity’s dogs are given military names, from Monty and Yomper to RedFour Juno and many more.
At the annual meeting Paula Pitman was presented with a flask engraved with thanks for her 14 years of running the society’s working tests, a job which has now had to be taken over by two people.
Reports were presented from team managers, training and the treasurer which all showed the society was running smoothly. The aim of the society is to help people train their gun dogs and, if they wish, to compete in varying levels of competition from in house and inter-club to national contests.