Saturday, April 5, 2014
A 12-year-old dog has become the first four-legged fundraiser for a dementia research charity after her cheeky habit of pinching cakes was rewarded by a supermarket chain.
Tipton St John marathon runner, blogger and one-time Herald reporter Jo Earlam sent a “yelp for help” – as if written by her ageing Labrador-collie cross, Bella – to Sainsbury’s after the canine raided her cupboards twice in a week.
The blog was picked up online by the retailer within minutes and shared worldwide – subsequently netting the pair a voucher to replace the treats.
Jo passed the proceeds to her nominated charity, BRACE, which was delighted to welcome a new canine supporter.
Jo said: “I’ve been writing a weekly blog since last June to help publicise my 50-marathon fundraising challenge [to run 50 marathons for BRACE].
“I’m always looking for different things to say, and thought it would amusing to post one as if from Bella about her cake-eating episode.
“It’s ironic that Bella’s blog was an immediate hit. I’ve been a journalist and a writer for 30 years and yet my old dog ended up teaching me new tricks. I thought the response from Sainsbury’s was terrific and showed really good customer service.
“It’s also led to further sponsorship for a fundraising event in the village next weekend.”
The Ottery store has donated a £10 voucher as a prize at a Best of British Music Night being organised by Jo to raise money for BRACE and the Tipton playing field and village hall.
The disco event takes place at the hall from 7.30pm until 11.30pm next Saturday (April 12). Tickets are £4 on the door.
Jo has now completed 37 of her 50 marathon challenge – her most recent run being the Rome Marathon, which she finished in 4 hours and 30 minutes.
She has set herself the target to run 50 marathons by her 50th birthday in May 2015 and is hoping to raise £4,000 for BRACE after her father, Bernard, was diagnosed with vascular dementia.