Rover ‘Leads On’ for Hospice that cared for his owner

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Black Labrador dog eating a biscuit from owners hand

In February 2023, animal lover, David Mann, died following a short illness with stomach cancer.

Throughout his final week, which he chose to spend at the Hospice, it was important for David to still see his much-loved pets – Rover, his Labrador and Sam his cat. David’s cousin, Peter Mann, brought them into the Inpatient Unit frequently to visit him.

David stayed in one of the Hospice’s two, bay rooms, meaning he shared the Ward with up to three other patients. This meant that, Rover and Sam also spent time with other patients too, visiting them at their beds and bringing joy and comfort to them and their visitors.

Peter commented about the care that his cousin received at the Hospice:

“David received the best care that you could give him. The girls here [at the Hospice] were brilliant. We couldn’t ask for any better treatment than David had. He had his dignity, and any problems that came up were solved. The care that David received made him more than comfortable. He wasn’t in pain, and because of that he could drift away.”

“The Hospice is a place you can come and be comfortable in. Patients can talk to one another and to staff. Pets and family can visit whenever they like.”

Peter’s Wife, Margaret, added:

“People love their pets so much, so it is really lovely that they are allowed to come and visit.”

Man posing with a chocolate Labrador
David Mann with one of his pets
Man posing in front of green car, with golden dog and holding a trophy
David Mann with one of his pets






Peter described his cousin as kindhearted, gentle and generous. As an avid animal lover, David supported charities for guide dogs and animal rehoming. Peter knew that when David died, he had to find the right people to look after his cousin’s beloved dog.

When Jo and David Kirkpatrick heard that Peter was looking for a home for Rover, they decided to meet him. Sadly, their own dog had recently died and life wasn’t the same. After multiple visits to Jo and David’s home, including a sleepover, Rover moved in with them.

Woman, man and black labarador dog wearing green bandana posing for photo
Rover with Jo and David Kirkpatrick

Jo explained how Rover settled well into his new life:

“He really is great. He enjoys travelling with us, visiting anybody and everybody, especially the pubs in Norfolk!”

In September 2023, Jo signed up Rover for the Charity’s ‘Lead On’ dog walking challenge. Jo explained the reasons for signing up to the challenge:

“When we saw the leaflet, we thought that, with Rover’s connection to the Hospice, it would be a very appropriate challenge to take part in. We thought, we are out every day with him anyway, so let’s do something good with it and knew Rover would want to do it too.

We would go out early and late when it was very hot, and David would measure the distance daily. I soon became quite competitive, trying to get more steps in than David. By going the wrong way one day, I accidentally walked 7km!”

Black Labrador dog sitting down and looking at the camera

Rover walked 90km throughout the month, in a fitting tribute to raise funds and awareness for the Charity that cared for his late owner.

When asked whether they would take part in ‘Lead On’ again, Jo and David answered:

“Absolutely, the Hospice is a marvellous, amazing place.”

Victoria Kidd, Community Fundraiser commented:

“We are so grateful to Peter, Jo and David for sharing Rover’s story, and for their wonderful support in raising both vital funds and awareness for the Charity. We are looking forward to welcoming Rover to take part in Lead On again next year!”

If you have been inspired to support people in Cambridgeshire living with an advanced serious illness or other life-limiting condition and would like support in fundraising for the Charity, please email Sarah at or call 01223 675888.