IT is a well-known saying dogs are a man’s best friend.

But what happens to that relationship when the owner is unable to spend quality time with their pet?

For some elderly dog owners, being unable to take their companions for a walk is heartbreaking.

However, help is at hand from The Cinnamon Trust - a charity seeking to keep dogs and owners together.

The charity sends volunteers to walk people’s dogs when they feel they can no longer look after them.

These selfless volunteers take off a burden which could be the difference between keeping a pet or, sadly, getting them rehomed.

Lesley Wright and her husband, Philip recently signed up to the Cinnamon Trust.

Lesley, 60, and Philip, 65, are unable to walk their cream Labrador Retriever, Vinnie, due to health reasons.

Lesley, who lives near St Andrew’s Avenue, Colchester, said: “We have had Vinnie since he was a puppy and he is eight this year. We got him for our son Daniel’s 21st birthday.

“Philip has multiple health conditions which started to affect his mental health and I have been fighting stage 3 cancer since 2016.

“Vinnie is a big strapping chap so I just couldn’t walk him.”

The couple were introduced to the charity by their carer at Carers First. They now have three sets of volunteers who come to walk Vinnie.

Although he goes outside for fresh air, he still needs his exercise.

Lesley said: “We have a young girl called Felicity on a Saturday, a couple called James and Faye on a Wednesday evening who have a husky pup called Loki, and Lawrence on a Monday.

“It means an awful lot to us having volunteers as Philip gets to see new faces.

“Philip and Lawrence share a love of sport and it’s good for Philip. Vinnie is just over the moon, he’s shattered when he gets back but he always listens out for the cars.”

The couple also look after a Staffie called Cassie, who is 14.

Philip said: “I’m pleased Vinnie gets a walk, I love my dogs and I couldn’t be without them. It’s a top priority for me mentally to have my animals about.

“The volunteers are amazing and Lawrence is like a friend which helps me.”

Lawrence Walsh travels from Sudbury to help the couple. He has only been a volunteer for a matter of weeks but knows the Trust is crying out for support.

Lawrence, 54, said: “I make sure it’s at a time which suits their routine. We went out for six miles the other day, then afterwards we have a cup of tea and a chat.”

Lawrence does not have any dogs himself but after retiring from Lloyds Bank he wanted to get out and about.

He said: “The dogs are very clever as they know you are there to walk them, as long as you have a pocket full of treats they will be your best friend. It’s therapeutic having a dog. It’s only a small thing we do but it helps.”

To volunteer call 01736 758707 or email