Robert's Christmas

Do you remember Robert?  His story was one of the most popular that I have published and I had a lot of lovely email and comments on social media. I took Molly, my dog, to meet Robert a few weeks ago and we chatted about the impact of his piece and how he was keeping. He wanted to share more about his latest plans.

I’ve recently moved to a warden controlled place. It was the last thing I wanted to do but my house had empty rooms and it was getting too expensive to heat. I thought that warden places would be horribly organised with lots of rules that I would be very tempted to break!

Worse if I couldn’t have dogs or pets here I’d be very upset. I think that’s a big mistake in housing for the elderly. I have started to look at fostering a dog. The Dogs Trust have a scheme called the Freedom Project and people can foster dogs temporarily if they are in danger in an abusive relationship. My dad was a bit like that with my mum and ... well, this made me think I could give something back.

It took a while to find something. I have had to move about ten miles from where I was before but I still drive and there are better shops here. I have moved to a beautiful bungalow and we have a warden on the site. It isn’t cheap but it means I’m looked after and I can have a dog. I was approved for the Freedom Project so I could get a dog any time now.

I don’t know what I shall do on Christmas Day. It depends if I have a dog. If I do then I shall write about their day, make sure they have a nice present too so I can tell their real owner all about it and they know their dog is safe. It would be nice to see a friend, Bridget who comes from Germany. We have started to date. Nothing too serious. She loves art like me and we met at a painting class but she’s a cat lady!

Next year I would like to show some of my paintings. The art club have exhibition but I have been too nervous. Bridget has said she’ll put my work in for me if I don’t! I want to go to Germany too. Bridget does have a daughter and I am good with this, we have met once and she Skypes us. I feel like I have a second chance.

I was showed my friends what I’d written, some of them had no idea that Julia and I could not have children. I can’t read the post out loud but pointing the website at them and letting them read for me, was easier and people have been kinder, more considerate and conversations are easier. It was nice to know it made a difference to people out there who don’t know me.
— Robert

Since this article was written, Robert has taken in two dogs for the Freedom Project. One was successfully reunited with his owner after three nights with Robert and his current four legged friend is very lively labrador. Bridget will be joining him for Christmas and she now loves dogs as much as cats!

They wish you all a Happy Christmas, as do Kenny, Molly and I. Have a peaceful one wherever you are and thank you for your continued support this year. It means the world to us.