The Long Walk for StreetVet

Phil and Lucky are setting out to raise money and awareness for StreetVet on an incredible journey that will take them over two thousand miles, through all weathers and terrains, meeting people from a huge range of walks of life. This poignant trip, while fundraising for StreetVet, is also designed to inspire others on difficult journeys –especially those who are homeless- and spread the message of hope to the community.

Here, we take a look at Phil and Lucky’s story, and the mission they are undertaking:

Phil, like many others, is an example of how easy it can be to find yourself homeless. Phil started in a stable career, but sadly relationship difficulties, redundancy and high rental costs meant that he quickly found himself living in a friend’s caravan on a lorry park and without any stable income. He lived here alone for the next two years.

It was while Phil was living on the lorry park that he met Lucky, his beloved Staffordshire bull terrier. Lucky was found by a friend at only eight weeks old, locked in an understairs cupboard. Phil couldn’t say no and a beautiful friendship was born – a friendship that is still thriving ten years later.

Lucky and Phil lived together on the site for another year, until Phil had the opportunity to borrow enough money to move into a small flat. Sadly, despite this short upturn in fortune, the building was the scene of a violent crime, forcing Phil to leave without getting a return on his deposit – out of the caravan and forced to leave his home, once again, he was homeless.

He decided to try and smash his way through my door with a cleaver” – Phil struggled with the violent crime he encountered in his new accommodation.

Since then, Phil has sofa surfed, stayed in hostels, conservatories, garages, cars and sheds with Lucky his main concern. As time passed, Lucky started to become elderly, and Phil worried about what would happen if she became ill. His worst fears were realised when he found a lump on her belly while grooming her. He took her to a local vet who confirmed she had a mammary tumour, but the fees were steep and Phil simply could not afford the treatment Lucky needed.

I was desperate. I needed a miracle.” – Finding out Lucky had mammary tumours was an incredible difficult time for Phil.

It was at this low point that Phil first heard about StreetVet. He says he saw it as a “ray of hope”, and met with Jade Statt just a few days later. Jade offered to operate to remove the tumours, calming Phil’s fears and reassuring him that all would be well again. From then, PhiI knew that Lucky was in good hands.

A couple of weeks later Lucky was taken into theatre where Jade and the team did their utmost to help Lucky. Phil nervously paced while his best friend was in theatre, but his worry was unfounded – he soon received the news that Lucky was in recovery and doing well.

Ive never felt so relieved and over joyed as I did that moment.” – The moment Phil found out Lucky would be ok was a massive relief.

While Lucky has been an invaluable companion and best friend to Phil, he has struggled to find accommodation that will take her. Landlords and agencies quickly turned him down when they found out he had a dog, and he knew he couldn’t leave her behind. Struggling with intermittent homelessness, and living with friends, Phil started to dwell more and more on what he wanted from life. Anxiety had been building about getting permanent work and a place to live.

Phil had a few weeks, until one evening when during a downpour he remembered a conversation that he had recently had with a good friend regarding work. Thinking about his passions, Phil thought of Lucky and the help they had received from StreetVet. Phil realised how important it was to him to give back to StreetVet and he set about planning how that could happen. His passion for the project grew, and realised that while he may not have clinical skills, he has always been one of “natures born roamers”. Putting two and two together, Phil came up with the idea of ‘the Long Walk’ – a charity walk around Britain to raise money, with Lucky quite naturally at his side.

The minute my idea came to me I felt the weight of the world lift off my shoulders it meant I could help after all.” – Phil describes the moment he came up with The Long Walk.

On July 18th 2018 Phil will be leaving on a sponsored walk to raise funds and awareness about StreetVet and the work they do. He hopes to inspire and educate as he travels, highlighting the plight of our homeless and their animal companions, as well as shining a light of hope to the homeless themselves.

Phil hopes to compel donors into giving and inspire other homeless people to go on to keep trying no matter the odds.  Finally, Phil says, he “knows what he wants to do”.

If you think you could help Phil and Lucky on their journey, or would like to donate, please follow our links!

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