Leeanne and Mike Whitley, for seven years, have successfully run the dog refuge “Twilight”. They work tirelessly caring for their charges.
Last year, my first meeting of the Whitleys was at the Hope Association Book Sale, a fundraiser for animal charities, and I started following them on Facebook as I was so impressed with what they were doing to help senior canines.
All the dogs at Twilight are either old and/or disabled, more often than not they have been abused and abandoned, others having lived years in refuges. Some are bereaved of their owner, a few found on the streets of Europe. Three quarters of the dogs have a disability such as blindness, missing limbs or epilepsy.
One day I was looking through Twilight Fundraising Facebook page and read an appeal for donations to purchase Zoflora, a pet friendly disinfecting agent. It is Twilight’s preferred product; with thirty dogs great quantities are required, however, it is not available in France.
So, I contacted the manufacturer of Zoflora in England asking for a donation of a few bottles, but, they were so impressed with Twilight’s mission that they offered a very generous 200 bottles. This was much more than I had dreamed possible.
With the product onboard Micala Wilkins and I made the two hour drive to hand over the surprise. At Twilight, Mike greeted us outside the kitchen door, prepping us about what to expect. He said there would be about thirty seconds of barking and then it will stop. We would be gently welcomed and sniffed by the curious. And that is exactly what happened. For me, it was overwhelming in the most pleasant of ways. The sheer joy of being surrounded by that much dog love and attention, I will never forget.
Leeanne introduced each dog, some with noble monikers – Socrates, Mozart and Sirius and others with sweet names such as Brambles, Teddy and Emily.
All the dogs were calm,their behaviour mirroring that of Mike and Leeanne. When there was a minor scuffle Leeanne asked gently “What’s the matter darlings?” Immediate peace was restored, no hard feelings.
We had a tour of the downstairs, which is entirely at the disposal of the dogs. There is even a ramp for the disabled with wheels. Inside and out there are blankets, dog beds, leather couches and armchairs all for the dogs’ comfort. Of course, on a hot day the cool tile floors are always a welcome spot.
It was finally time to share the surprise.
After giving Mike and Leeanne an unopened, unidentifiable carton of Zoflora, relaying a little bit of the back-story and with a couple hints Mike guessed what it contained. Zoflora! They were so excited with the one carton but then shocked and very grateful for the three more. Linda Goulding, fund raiser extraordinaire, once remarked that “Zoflora is like champagne at Twilight”. They couldn’t have been happier, overwhelmed by the generosity of the Zoflora people who made it happen.
This was a team effort. From factory to the final destination none of this would have been possible without:
The wonderful people at Thornton & Ross Ltd. who had no hesitation in giving so much Zoflora and the team at Franglais Deliveries, who transported the products, at no charge from their warehouse in Dorset, England to France. A huge thank you to all of you for your caring hearts.
In lieu of writing anymore I will let the video clips and photos should speak for themselves.
The video clips were shot on the spur of the moment. They are in no way purporting to be professional but rather a reflection of two naturally happy and kind souls who are Mummy and Daddy to thirty lucky dogs with which they humbly share their home and their lives.