Friday Flash Fiction – Therapups

I had never heard of the charity Therapups, nor had Google, but one of my late aunt’s dog loving friends sent me the postal address. Aunty had requested no flowers for her funeral, just a donation to her favourite charity. I sent a small cheque and a brief letter with my address included, requesting the next copy of their newsletter, which was apparently going to feature a tribute to my aunt.

A week later I received a hefty envelope, almost a parcel, with a gushing letter thanking me for my generosity. The newsletter was to follow shortly, but in the meantime they were pleased to send me a Therapups key ring with dog whistle attached and one hundred biodegradable poop bags in a designer carry case; all in the distinctive charity colours puce pink and sunflower yellow. I don’t own a dog, but they weren’t to know that. Also included was a colourful booklet explaining the charity’s work; it seems they provided therapy and assistance dogs not covered by other better known charities.

I was quite impressed, Therapups gave every dog an opportunity to make a contribution whether they were a St. Bernard with shopping panniers or a handbag sized ball of fluff you cuddled to calm your nerves. The newsletter duly arrived and gave more enlightenment as to my aunt’s contribution; who would have guessed her knitting skills would have been put to such good use or her Aloe Vera plant stand at the annual fete so popular? It was even more of a surprise to learn that her bad tempered terrier mix, who drove the neighbours mad with his constant yapping, had been a ‘wonderful therapy dog whose sad passing at the age of nineteen left an unfillable gap in Thelma’s life, undoubtably leading to her untimely demise weeks later at the age of ninety nine.’

Enclosed with the dozen copies of the newsletter was a puce pink and sunflower yellow picture frame with an unflattering photo of Aunt Thelma surrounded by half a dozen very ugly puppies. I wrote once more to thank them and promised to pass the newsletters to the rest of the family, though what I would do with the remaining seven copies I had no idea.

A week later another parcel arrived with a dozen Therapup calendars and an apologetic note… ‘I know it’s May already, but hopefully we all need calendars now we’re on the roadmap to Covid Recovery.’ I did not get around to replying or hanging a calendar up; I got the impression from the pictures on the calendar that they took the dogs no other charity wanted.

I was surprised the next week to receive yet another parcel from Therapups, a strange pink and yellow object which turned out to be a folding water bowl. I gave it to a dog owning friend. It was barely a week later when another package arrived; a paperback biography of the founder of Therapups. By now the charity had spent more on postage alone than I had given them in the first place, but it wasn’t hard to guess that they were expecting more from me. Enclosed were direct debit forms for regular contributors and leaflets on their free will writing service. I put them all in the recycling bin; I had little prospect of much money, now or after my death. Friends had expected Aunt Thelma to leave me her run down, but valuable house. She left her house and possessions and £57.37 all to Therapups.
They were not put off by my lack of response and further gifts left me wondering if they thought I was in need of a therapy dog. I received a yellow and pink rug for my wheelchair and dachshund shaped herbal wheat bag for chronic pain. My latest gift is a cuddly sunflower yellow toy puppy, far more handsome than their real dogs and I have to confess he is rather a comfort and I even sneak him into work.

26 thoughts on “Friday Flash Fiction – Therapups

  1. I had the same reaction as Liz. Totally believable, although I don’t know too many charities that would go all out like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, the dreaded charity mailing list you can never get off. 🙂 I don’t know how it works in the UK but in Australia charities are exempt from the Do Not Call Register and they take full advantage of it.

    Speaking of caring for dogs, check out these amazing guys running a doggy day care service on a farm outside Sydney. I warn you these videos can become addictive. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is very accurate, Janet. As a present for my pet-loving mum, I ‘adopted’ a dog for her, through the NCDL. That cost £6.99 a month, which I paid for one year. They sent requests for extra money every week, unwanted cheap tatty calendars and other promotional material, always asking for more money. When we didn’t respond, they started telephoning her, with sob stories about sick dogs needing expensive Vet treatment. That made her so upset, she occasionally sent them cheques from her very small pension income.
    In the end, I had to phone them on her behalf, and tell them to stop pestering an 80 year-old lady who had no spare money. I have never donated a penny to them since.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Truth is stranger than fiction! We sent money to one of my mother’s favourite Christian charities after her death and have had endless magazines arrive ever since. They did respond to my email requesting no more paper post, but the next day I opened my new Radio Times and one of their magazines fell out!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I have got a collection of Xmas cards, bookmarks, toe pads and address stickers, but someone else’s experience inspired me when a medical charity kept sending her gloves and all sorts of therapeutic items!

      Liked by 1 person

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