Clare Concannon moved to Chandlers Cross a small hamlet in the Parish of Sarratt, South Hertfordshire 10 years ago this July.
Clare is a Trainer and Creative Mentor helping people like her who balance, unpaid caring responsibilities with their own business, career & family, in need of support with work and life transitions. “Talk & Walk” in the great outdoors, or remotely with mentor and mentee in their own tranquil space, encourages creative thinking and positive wellbeing. www.positiveexperiencetraining.co.uk Clare 0776112311
Sabre is her rescue dog who pledged his support during Carers Week 8 – 14 June and beyond (See his pledge / flyer) Sabre has a dog blog on the Sarratt Village website
He is regularly invited alongside his owner to bring calmness and reduced anxiety during mentoring sessions. Unpaid carers are likely to feel 11% more isolated during this challenging lockdown. There were over 9 million unpaid carers in 2019 already in 2020 there are now another 4.5 million. (https://www.carersuk.org)
Sabre was a cheeky 11 month old German Shepherd when first re-homed, at one point he was so naughty he was nearly returned. Clare commissioned a friend who fosters and trains dogs for a charity and Sabre soon responded to his canine peers and soon mastered his social skills. He went on to win Best in Show at the Sarratt Village Day in 2018. Alas the bi-annual event is currently postponed. Sabre has an unchallenged title, so Clare decided he needed to put that to good use.
Sabre was already supporting Clare with visits to close family and friends. His gentle giant approach was greatly received by her 91 year old mother during speech therapy if Sabre heard his name at a high enough pitch he would reward his human grandma with one of his toys. He displayed the same kindness when Clare’s partners brother had a life changing stroke, Sabre always manages to bring a smile to the cared for and their caring team. He is a great companion on a walk often happily being overtaken by an electric wheelchair. He was a tower of strength to a family friend with a terminal illness being cared for by the hospice. His visit was very comforting and demonstrated the truly natural intuition between dogs and their best friends when they most need it.
The idea for “Paws for Thought” came after Clare realised that lockdown was limiting the appreciation of Sabre within his human family, mainly due to social distancing and shielding, but also because the car simply was not big enough for shopping deliveries and a large dog; something was going to be eaten or sat on within in the essential supplies.
After Clare’s mum took a turn for the worst and narrowly missed going into hospital, Clare decided it was time for Sabre to do a safe Social Distance Paws Pathway visit. He visited two mums and a close family friend in one afternoon and the joy on their faces will stay with me for a long time.
When charity Carers in Hertfordshire – Clare’s local lifeline of support for the last 3 years, being an unpaid, only child carer, invited Clare to contribute to the Carewaves magazine and promoting National Carers Week, she decided words were not enough a simple action then started to make a difference. I asked a local carer who helps me with mum, who do you know that would welcome support right now? She confirmed – “Every patient I care for”. Sabre walk this way to Sarratt Village!
Letter of appreciation recently sent by Clare to Hertfordshire Life July 2020
The real positive of Hertfordshire living during challenging times is the outstanding support available from Carers in Hertfordshire. It means so much to family and friends who are unpaid carers like me. You put us first and allow us to think about and prioritise our own health and wellbeing, so we can continue caring and working if we want to and I can start to feel like a daughter again. I also rediscovered poetry.
Isolated, lonely feeling out on a limb
A lifeline of support to get me back in the swim
Bespoke on-line courses and mentoring peers keep my resilience strong
A win-win combination for when the days are just too long!
Carers in Hertfordshire supports people – children and adults - that provide unpaid care to someone who is elderly, disabled, has a long-term or life-limiting illness, or who misuses drugs, and live, work or care in Hertfordshire. The charity also supports bereaved carers with similar links to the county for three years after the death of the person they cared for. Services Carers in Hertfordshire provide unpaid carers include information and advice over the phone, online and via email, free courses and workshops, one to one and group support, a Carers’ Passport Discount Card giving access to savings at a range of businesses, and more. During the COVID-19 situation support is mainly being provided via phone or online. Please contact the charity for information or support related to your caring role or to get involved, such as through volunteering or fundraising.
To contact Carers in Hertfordshire:
Call: 01992 58 69 69
Clare is also an Ambassador for the International Stress Management Association ISMAUK www.isma.org.uk & Champion for the Charity Minds at Work
More information available Clare.Concannon@yahoo.co.uk Quote “Paws for Thought” 07761129311
Volunteers, Sponsors, Funding, Collaboration welcomed to reach out for a local & then national pledge to reach isolated unpaid carers – our journey has only just begun!
The impact of Sabre’s pledge visiting people in our local area via their pathway at a social distance has been noticed and tweeted by Carers Uk where he made a pledge. We will continue beyond carers week in Sarratt and would welcome the dog community to safely follow in Sabre’s paw steps throughout hertfordshire!
Clare is being interviewed at 4.30pm today on SG1 Radio with Slava and Trev. Repeated on Sat from 11 – 1 and a podcast to follow.