SMILING Wendy Simpson will be forever grateful to her award-winning dog Beau who she credits with helping her beat breast cancer.
Wendy had her life turned upside down in December 2008 when she was given the shock diagnosis.
But after six gruelling courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, Wendy realised the importance of exercise so did what she had always wanted to do – bought a dog.
Lots of long walks and Beau’s “excellent company” helped to keep Wendy’s mind off the battle she faced for her own life and in September 2010 she was given the all-clear.
“Beau helped me fight the cancer,” admitted Wendy, who lives in Hartlepool’s Everett Street. We would walk for miles together and he kept me busy.
“When I was diagnosed I tried to keep my life as normal as possible and I knew the exercise would really help me.”
The delight of the all-clear came as a huge relief to Wendy. But the news was overshadowed by the death of her auntie Joan Dixon, a few days earlier. Joan, 55, had been battling breast cancer at the same time.
Wendy said:“We went through it all together and Joan was such a help to me so it was devastating when she passed away.
“It overshadowed me getting the all-clear but it did help the family, to get the good news just a few days after we had such bad news.”
Joan was cared for at Hartlepool & District Hospice and last year Wendy showed her support for the facility by going along to the annual Dogs Day Out, which proved a huge success.
Beau, a Hungarian Vizsla Pointer mix breed, won the waggiest tail award in the show and was also crowned the Top Dog after Wendy’s £190 fundraising total was the highest amount of sponsorship raised.
And the pair are hoping for a repeat as the third annual Dogs Day Out takes place tomorrow at Summerhill, off Catcote Road, Hartlepool.
“It’s a fantastic day, last year was brilliant,” said Wendy who works a secretary for Isocom Components, in Park View Industrial Estate. She has already raised more than £200 this year.
“Beau is so hyper and it’s great way to exercise, as well as supporting such a worthwhile cause. We are at Summerhill most days anyway on walks, he loves it there.”
The event, sponsored by Pets at Home, gets under way at 10am tomorrow and includes a sponsored dog walk, a dog show and obedience and training displays from local experts.
Greg Hildreth, events and community facilitator at the hospice who has organised tomorrow’s event, said: “Wendy and Beau are a great double act and I’m sure they’ll do a great job of fundraising as well as bringing some fun to the dog show.
“I’m delighted to hear that they are coming back to support us again and would encourage any other dog owners in the area to join us at this fun event.”
People can sign up on the day from 9am and registration costs £5 which includes entry to the dog show and a complimentary bag of dog treats. Every dog taking part will also receive a rosette.
● Cash boost for hospice – Page 15