July 26 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Fred Simpson carries out a valuable community service – exercising dogs for people who would not otherwise be able to have a pet.
The 78-year-old gets his daily exercise at the same time, pushing a pram with a dog or two in it and accompanied by a handful of others scampering alongside.
Mr Simpson is a well-known sight along the seafront at Felixstowe, sometimes walking up to nine dogs at a time.
He said: “I love doing it – it’s good for the dogs and it’s great for the owners I am helping.
“Many of the owners are housebound or cannot walk very far at all, and some are people who are out all day, and so they cannot exercise their dogs – many of them would have to give up their dogs if I didn’t take them out.
“I usually walk them down to Felixstowe Ferry and sometimes meet up with other dog owners.
“One day last summer we had 27 dogs running about on the beach down by the sandbanks, having a great time paddling in the sea and playing with the other dogs.”
Mr Simpson, of Leopold Road, Felixstowe, has been involved with Felixstowe Dog Training Club for 35 years and uses his experience of training to help the dogs, curing some discipline and socialisation problems.
The pram – which most people notice as he takes the dogs along the prom – is an essential part of his equipment, though it has seen better days and is gradually falling to bits. He is appealing for anyone with an old Marmet or Silver Cross carry cot style pram they no longer want to get in touch.
He said: “The pram is very useful for some of the smaller dogs who cannot walk as far. If a dog gets into trouble I can tie the others to the pram while I sort it out.
“It is also useful for the other service I provide – clearing up all the dogs’ mess from all the other dogs that use the seafront and whose owners do not clear up after their pets. I carry the poo home in the pram.”
Mr Simpson, who has a Cairn terrier and a Staffy of his own, is hoping someone will have an old pram lurking in a shed or loft . Anyone who can help should call him 01394 277330.