VIDEO: Pet volunteers help keep families together

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HOUSEBOUND 86-year-old Alma Wragg can’t imagine life without her best friend and constant companion, six-year-old dog Rollie. Thanks to The Cinnamon Trust, she doesn’t have to.

The national charity provides Alma, of Norton Lees, Sheffield, with five home visits a week from volunteers who take Rollie out walking, help with vet appointments, and pick up his dog food.

Cinnamon Trust ,  Alma Wragg, with her Dog Rollie

Cinnamon Trust , Alma Wragg, with her Dog Rollie

The charity has answered Alma’s prayers. “I can’t get about any more, I’ve got arthritis in every part of my body,” said Alma, who lives alone. “I could never have faced giving Rollie up, it would have devastated me, but it was getting to the point where his health was in jeopardy because he wasn’t getting out walking. That’s when a nurse recommended The Cinnamon Trust.”

Each year, thousands of elderly and disabled people in the UK face the heartbreaking decision to give up pets they can no longer care for.

But The Cinnamon Trust has 15,000 volunteers nationwide who walk dogs, feed cats and clean out bird cages in an effort to keep pets and owners together. It supports 29 people in Sheffield with 46 volunteers.

Retired cat shelter warden Brenda Szulc has been walking Rollie three times a week for the past 12 months.

“For so many older people, their pets are their life and often it’s the only little soul they see every day,” she said.

Rollie is also in good hands with retired Sheffield vet Nigel Hopkins, who walks him once a week.

“I’ve always been aware of how beneficial dogs are to elderly people living alone,” said Nigel. “I enjoy getting out and it’s incredibly rewarding work.”

Elizabeth Stewart from The Cinnamon Trust said: “Pets are constant companion, comforting, loving and protecting their owners from loneliness and despair.”

Alma agrees: “Cinnamon Trust has made such a difference to our lives. Rollie loves his walks and gets so excited when he sees his new friends coming down the path.”

Visit for information about becoming a volunteer.