Most people in this MD will know Grover. He has been PDG Jim Rowley’s (Babbacome and St Marychurch Lions Club, 105SW) guide dog for the last 9 years. Sadly, in December 2017 Grover was retired on this 11th Birthday. As a tribute to Jim’s Best Friend (Sorry Harry!) this is looking back at their journey and all the wonderful memories they have made together.
Everyone remembers when they first met Grover. I can remember the first time I met the pesky duo. I was 20 years old, had been a member for less than a year and it was my first District Convention in 2012. I was harassing everyone asking them to sign my First Timers sheet when I saw Grover, Jim, Jackie and of course Harry and Janet Fry. Whist I was besotted playing with Grover, I got the usual from Jim about the organisation and how it was good to finally see young people getting involved. Little did I know that 4 years later I would end up in the same club, calling Grover a “Little ball of fluff” and standing with Jim at the bar of the Conservative Club after our meetings.
I’ve spent the last few weeks talking to both Jim and Jackie getting stories, snippets and photos for this article, and it is clear to see just how well these two work well together. Doing whatever he wants, kicking other people out of the way for his spot at the bar, giving the barmaid “the look” for his drink and making sure everyone who walks past stops and says hello… And that’s just Grover! Talking to Jim he said, “Grover isn’t perfect, he breaks the rules and does what he wants, but so do I, and that’s why we work so well. We know each other and know what the other is going to do before they do it”. Which I’m sure everyone can agree too, especially if there is a treat or beer involved.
Grover has several names and one of them is Houdini. He is a talented escape artist and has been since he was a puppy. There is no boundary fence between Jim and Jackie’s garden and the coastal footpath in St Marychurch. He has gone missing for HOURS before, just wondering around saying hello to everyone in the community, as most people know him. As a result, they now have a wire fence on top of the wall surrounding their patio area to stop any further Great Escape remakes!
It is safe to say that Grover is basically just as active in Lions as Jim is. He comes to club fundraisers, business, committee and director meetings, District and Multiple District Conventions and all the bits in between. He even has his own Lions Clubs regalia.
Jim, Jackie and Grover are also annual guests for Christmas at The Cliffden Hotel, Teignmouth. This is also where dynamic duo did their training together in 2008 when Grover was paired with Jim, this is where their journey began.
Jim has said, “Grover has been a faithful friend, an excellent guide and even better companion, he has changed my life”. Some of you may know that Jim will be getting another guide dog, which means Grover will be going to a new home. However, it is one of love, Grover already knows and is pretty much the boss there too.
Grover, you will forever be loved by Babbacombe and St Marychurch Lions Club, 105SW and the whole of MD105. Although you are a dog, you will always be a Lion to us!