Dog welfare supporter completes lockdown ‘Aberdeen to London’ challenge on behalf of Dogs Trust
Instead of walking 500 miles, one local Aberdeenshire resident has chosen to cycle in aid of Dogs Trust.
Seonaidh Baker, from Methlick, has been using her one daily exercise outing to rack up more than 546 miles (the distance between Aberdeen and London) while raising funds on behalf of Dogs Trust’s Freedom Project.
After becoming aware of the charity’s project, which helps pet owners fleeing domestic abuse by providing temporary foster care for their dogs, Seonaidh wanted to show her support for the cause and came up with her own Aberdeen to London cycling challenge.
The challenge began just over two weeks ago and Seonaidh has been cycling an average of 30 miles every day, in and around the countryside where she lives, whilst adhering to Government ‘lockdown’ advice.
"I hadn’t realised Dogs Trust offered this type of support and it was shocking to learn the sad reality that pets – as well as children – are often threatened with abuse, as a way for perpetrators of domestic abuse to control their victims. I think the Freedom project gives people a vital lifeline and, despite the current lockdown, I wanted to find a way to contribute to the cause.
"I decided to cycle the distance between Aberdeen and London because London is a city that is very close to my heart; and has also been hugely affected by the current crisis. Prior to the pandemic, I would frequently travel there to visit friends and family who live in the city; so, it is also a way of showing them how much they mean to me and how much I miss them.
"So far I have raised more than £1,200 on my Just Giving page, and although friends and family have been cheering me on, its Hamish my 13-year-old West Highland Terrier, who has been my true mascot."
Ashley Szafranek, Scotland Freedom Project Coordinator at Dogs Trust said:
"We are extremely grateful to Seonaidh for this lovely gesture, and to the overwhelming number of people who have offered their kindness and support in these uncertain times. Without you we wouldn’t be able to do our vital work.
"It’s no surprise that self-isolation and social distancing could mean that survivors experiencing domestic abuse are likely to be more isolated in a home with their perpetrator. We are therefore doing everything we can to support pet owners experiencing domestic abuse who may need to temporarily hand over their dogs to us whilst they escape their home.
"We are working closely with the domestic abuse organisations across Scotland, as well as the rest of the UK to continue to offer this vital service. If you, or someone you know needs help or support through our Freedom Project please do get in touch with us directly and we will do all we can to help."
If you would like to support Seonaidh's fundraising efforts, you can visit her JustGiving page and make a donation: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/seonaidh-baker
Should you need further information or want to get in touch with Dogs Trust’s Freedom Project, please visit: www.moretodogstrust.org.uk/freedom-project or email [email protected]
For help and support relating to domestic abuse contact the Scottish Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline www.sdafmh.org.uk. 0800 027 1234.