A Ne’er dip with the yabba dabba dookers!

Joyce Hankin and puppy Betsy. Pic: FPA
Joyce Hankin and puppy Betsy. Pic: FPA

If you go down to the water on New Year’s Day look out for a group of cavemen, complete with dinosaur dog, who are barking mad!

Joyce Hankin and four friends along with Joyce’s former Guide Dog puppy Betsy are all dressing up in Flintstone’s costumes to take part in Kirkcaldy’s annual Langtoun Loony Dook today to raise funds for the Betsy Fund.

The Betsy Fund is a charity set up by Joyce and her partner Diane to try to raise £6000 to repay Guide Dogs for the Blind for the life-saving surgery it paid for for their beloved pet who, not long into her training as a guide dog took seriously ill and was found to have a liver shunt, which meant that her liver didn’t function properly and she was being poisoned by toxins in her body.

The couple were told that she needed a major operation, and at just 16-weeks-old she was taken to a specialist hospital, the Willow Centre in Coventry, where she underwent the lifesaving surgery.

Despite the condition meaning that Betsy, a golden retriever, would never be able to become a guide dog, the charity forked out for the expensive operation to repair the shunt, and Betsy is now thriving.

Joyce and Diane have officially “adopted” her and she lives with them and their two other former guide dog trainees at their Duddingston Drive home, where she has become quite a celebrity.

“Lots of people we knew were interested to find out about Betsy and her treatment, so we set up her own Facebook page – Betsy Fund – which has over 320 followers,” explained Joyce (55), a carer with ICAS at Whyteman’s Brae.

“Myself and a group of friends also decided we wanted to take part in the Loony Dook to raise as much as we could for Guide Dogs for the Blind. We already have over £1000 pledged in just a few weeks, which is great.

“We all have our Flintstones costumes and Betsy will be dressed as Dino the dinosaur, but whether she will be brave enough to come into the water with us remains to be seen!

“We would really like to raise the full £6000 to give back to Guide Dogs because they need all their money and it was so generous of them to agree to fund Betsy’s surgery. Without it she wouldn’t still be here.”

To boost funds Joyce and Diane are also organising a fundraising night in the Beveridge Park Hotel on March 7 with a disco, raffle and other fundraising activities.

The Langtoun Loony Dook will take place on Thursday on the beach at the west end of Kirkcaldy Esplanade starting at noon. Anyone is invited to take part to raise money for their chosen charity.

There will also be another dook in Kinghorn, starting at 11.00 a.m.