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It was the first time in his year that President Mike was upstaged. At his very own President’s Night too. A Dog’s Dinner it was when the stars of night were Princess Isis, Ziggy Stardust and Maximillian and they stole the show. The President had forgotten the age old adage of the theatre: Never appear with children or dogs.

For all the misfortunate members who missed a memorable evening, you may well require some explanation. President Mike did a great job. He gave us a special President’s night. He performed pretty well-sort of 9.9 out of 10. He would have got 10/10 but he missed one “woof” with a “please”. But Isis, Ziggy and Max gave not a single “woof” all night and scored their 10/10. Get it? OK. More explanation.

Mikes special guests, among many who dined with him, were Byron and Sue Harvey. They are both physically disabled and wheel-chair users. They are a happy, funny, energetic couple, married having met through the “Dogs for the Disabled” charity based in Banbury. They and their three beautifully behaved dogs Princess Isis, Ziggy Stardust and Maximillian are Ambassadors for the charity.

After the Loyal Toast beautifully enunciated by John Greatrex, and the inevitable 10 minute break which the dogs enjoyed by a trip into the garden, (where did the Rotarians go?) we were entertained by the quintet describing the benefits that the Charity provide. In the time span of about two decades, 681 dogs have been trained to provide practical assistance to disabled persons. Tasks such as fetching out- of- reach TV controllers, operating washing machines and doing the shopping in Waitrose are second nature to the dogs. They become true family members.

This does not come cheaply. It takes more than a year to train the dog (and its owner, too) to become partners. The charity funds the whole-life-costs (they retire at 12 years of

age –the dogs I mean) which amounts to £23,500. So in all the charity has funded £16 million. National Lottery money, partly, well spent. They certainly deserve the support of Rotary.

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