My dear CADS,

How are you all? This month saw us finally having several consecutive days of sunshine in Amsterdam. I hope you were able to enjoy the surprise! Ironically, I was on vacation in Spain at the time, where it was cooler than in the NL. So my roof terrace in Amsterdam has still seen little action on the G&T front in 2023!

Our September meeting was a huge success. The event was so popular, I had to run a waiting list for the lunch bookings – a CADS first in my time. Our speaker was Monique Vrolijken, an international coach and trainer who specialises in trauma, anxiety, allergies, and stress. For our CADS dinner she spoke about a revolutionary, relatively new technique to reduce or eliminate chronic pain, called OldPain2Go. Monique gave an excellent presentation which was so engaging that several members have asked for her details so they can follow up with her either for themselves or relatives who suffer from chronic pain. Monique is also a trainer in this technique and
a couple of CADS members also expressed interest in learning the technique themselves in order to become practitioners. Monique can be reached on

In previous newsletters I have outlined where CADS made some charitable donations in 2023. One of the beneficiaries was the organisation ‘Bultersmekke Assistancedogs.’ This is the organisation that provided our dear member Alistair Cranmer with his assistance dog, Wellington. Alistair is very grateful for CADS making this donation and in addition, he and I thought that it would be interesting for you all to hear his and Wellington’s story. Over to you Alistair……

Wellington and I are now in our ninth month of his (our!) training to fully certify as a medial alert & assistance dog (team). Every two weeks our trainer visits us, and we
train for the whole morning. This can be conversationally, because I have so many questions (and worries), or it can be a practical training, where we go to Schiphol
Airport, a busy shopping street, or onto a train. Or even to a place where Wellington has to literally guide me along an important established route (much like guide dogs for the blind are trained), or to find my house or car in case I am lost.

From the first day that he arrived, he has worked so hard at helping me both in the house and in public. And he has done it so well. He reacts when my health or my
awareness or confidence is in trouble, and signals me to realise this. If he isn’t happy with my reaction, then he softly bites my hand and pulls me away from a difficult situation – or sometimes further away to somewhere quieter in order to reset. He then demands my attention & focus until he considers that everything is under control, or even he might lay on me to signal and alleviate my pain. At night, when the nightmares hit, he will at first walk around the bed, trying to wake me softly. If I do not react, then he jumps up at the side of the bed and starts pawing the bedding until I come around. Then he waits until he thinks everything is good, and then he will just as abruptly drop down and go back to sleep. Advanced tasks will be learnt next. This includes opening doors, helping me with clothes and chores, keeping me from falling off the pavement into busy streets, guiding me when necessary, and keeping people at a distance. Quite confusingly, he even also learns to attract attention if I am having a big problem or to signal me to take my emergency medicines.

He is quite simply my hero, every single day. He never leaves my side, and he is always watching me or checking on me. Let me be clear on the impact. This is not a collection of whimsical scenarios. Within a space of any week, he will already have done most of these tasks at least once. It’s pretty intense for us both.But of course, he is also a ten month old “puppy” as well! Because he actually works 24/7, we consciously plan in free time when he can run & play around like a healthy (crazy) Golden Retriever. The icing on the cake is of course when my two daughters are at home, and he gets time to be a true family dog as well – by ‘capturing’ the sofa or insisting on pulling-rope games when actually we all wanted to sit down and just watch some tv.

As a consequence of this all, my life is beginning to rebuild. None of this could have happened without the generous contribution of CADs. I – and my daughters – are eternally grateful for your support”.

Next month we will be holding the CADS AGM. My 3-year period as Chair is almost at an end. I am putting myself forward for re-election. It is important for you all to know that I might return to the UK within the next 3 years, so if I am lucky enough to be re-elected there is a small chance that CADS might need to look for a new Chair before the next 3-year stint is complete. However, I may NOT move in the next 3 years, so this scenario might never emerge, but I feel more comfortable putting all my cards on the table before the election.

In a similar vein, Dee van Doorn would like to hand over her secretarial duties to another member. The role of CADS secretary includes keeping us straight with the KvK, issuing the membership invoices at the beginning of each year, taking Board and AGM minutes, and maintaining the Membership directory. Dee has done a super job over the years, thank you Dee! These tasks could also be split across several members. Please contact me if you are interested in helping out. I will issue the materials for the AGM at least a week beforehand so if anyone has any items for the agenda or would like to nominate someone as Chair or Secretary please let me know ASAP!

Our next meeting will be lunch on Friday October 20th at the KIGC. We will hold our AGM plus hosting our real-life Lord, Lord Taylor of Holbeach who will be speaking about the Anglo-Netherlands Society, with a view to creating CADS and ANS collaborations in the future.

Looking forward to seeing many of you on Friday October 20th at the KIGC.