A Merseyside police officer and his two faithful companions, huskies Thor and Loki, are hoping for a howler of a Christmas for the dogs at the Merseyside Dog’s Trust in Huyton.
Dog food, toys, and blankets were among the many gifts that Knowsley Police Inspector Andrew Robinson brought to the centre on Friday, December 22.
Andrew has been taking his two pet huskies, Thor and Loki, on an annual marathon walk around Christmas to raise money for different charities for the past 11 years. They have raised almost £20,000 for organisations like Mind and Call for Backup over the years.
And not all the walks have gone quite to plan. Remembering one particular walk Andrew recalled:
“Having Thor and Loki has brought nothing but joy into my life – and into the lives of other people. One year we walked for Child Flight, a charity that helps children with additional needs. It helps get them to Disney in America with nurses and other brilliant things. And we managed to raise nearly £2,000 even though it didn’t go quite to plan!
“We were walking from Southport to Widnes and there was snow and ice and everywhere – Thor and Loki loved it – but I completely messed the map up. We ended up doing about 35 miles. My thermal layer failed. I ended up in temperature shock at home – but the dogs were ready to turn round and do it all over again. They have absolutely loved these walks over the years.
“The amount of people that we have met on those walks was what really made it great and worthwhile. Thor – being a ginger husky – which is really unusual for his breed and always gets a lot of attention. So people were always stopping to pet him, and we’d get chatting about the charity I was walking for and it helped to raise awareness.
“But I noticed that Thor was slowing down around June, July time this year. He’d has always had little bumps, little cysts… but there was one on his back leg which was growing at quite a considerable rate. So I took him to vets, as any responsible owner should do, to get him checked out. And unfortunately, the biopsy came back as a carcinoma – which is a really aggressive form of cancer.
“His appetite has gone down, his energy levels have dropped through the floor, and he struggles to walk two miles now which is heartbreaking to see.
“With Thor’s age – there’s simply nothing they can do for him that wouldn’t compromise his quality of life – and I would never put him through that. It was his 12th birthday week and he’s had a full and wonderful life and given so much to others. I just don’t want it to end.
“There was no way he could do his fundraising walk this year, but I didn’t want his last Christmas to be the one where he didn’t bring any joy or comfort to others.
“So I decided to ask officers and staff at my police station in Kirkby if they would be willing to donate the odd tin of dog food… and then the word starting spreading across the force about Thor. Collection points got set up in police stations right across Merseyside, and officers and staff have been so generous. I am really overwhelmed by the response we have had.
“This will be my good boy’s last Christmas, but I’m determined, especially having seen the overwhelming response from my colleagues, that every year, I want to carry on the good work he, and Loki, have done. Due to the support the fundraising and collections are known within force as ‘Thor and Loki’s Christmas Wish’. That’s what I’ve been collecting for.”
Speaking about what Christmas donations mean to them, Assistant Manager of the Merseyside Dog’s Trust, Ryan Campbell, said:
“What a fantastic Christmas gift! We are so grateful to Andy for choosing to support us and want to thank everyone that has donated. We always make Christmas Day as special as possible for our dogs and this will really help.”
Inspector Robinson is determined to fulfil Thor and Loki’s Christmas wish for years to come, even though it is unlikely that Thor will live long after Christmas. He wants to return some of the comfort and hope that his best friend gave him to others.