Unexpected new friend appeared just in time

It's funny how new friends can come along just when you need them most. I'd been feeling rather down in the dumps when my path unexpectedly crossed with an enthusiastic new buddy who radiates happiness.

It's funny how new friends can come along just when you need them most.

I'd been feeling rather down in the dumps when my path unexpectedly crossed with an enthusiastic new buddy who radiates happiness.

Since then, our little jaunts around a west Norfolk village have been such a tonic - even if he struggles to keep up with me on his dumpy legs.

But the best thing about this friendship is knowing that Sammy the corgi needs me too.


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"It's fate," reckons his elderly owner, who finds it difficult to walk her pet

very far herself due to painful osteoarthritis.

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"One of Sammy's walkers said she wouldn't be able to help any more, and then you came round the same day."

I had no idea my dogwalking hobby would emerge from visiting Sammy's owner about a trading standards

dispute.

Although, as I walked towards her front door, a smile spread across my face.

There was Sammy, peering up at me through the glass.

I've always had a soft spot for corgis, but I couldn't let this melt my supposedly cool, professional exterior into a blathering wreck.

"Oooh helloooo, wasss your name, then," I gibbered, in the same kind of ga-ga language other women of my age reserve for newborn babies.

"I love Corgis," I explained (as if it wasn't obvious), and steered our conversation towards Sammy once the matter of the alleged home improvements scam was safely in my notepad.

And, while the story never emerged since the dispute was resolved later that day, we've kept in touch after I volunteered to take the corgi for walks every now and then - to help the woman, to help Sammy and to help me.

The woman had not only lost one of her dogwalkers recently, but was still feeling raw after her husband passed away at the end of last year and clearly appreciated any helping hand.

"I need to get used to a different life now," she said, choking back the tears.

Although I felt quite emotional, I walked away from the house feeling much brighter than when I arrived.

Not only did I have that good-deed glow, it had been just two days since my boyfriend started a job on the other side of the world.

My head was still in a whirl, but now I had dogwalking to add to my growing list of therapeutic, distracting activities, along with doing mind-enriching things instead of watching Big Brother all summer and planning lots of fun trips with my supportive friends.

It also gives me the satisfaction of knowing I'm doing a bit of voluntary work in my community, which is something I've always wanted to do but never quite had the time.

I'm getting exercise in the fresh air and bumping up my atrociously low "steps per day" quota after sitting in front of the computer for eight hours.

And, while I cannot compare our circumstances, it helps me get used to a different life, too.

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