Atlantic Ocean. For Handi’chiens, he went all the way!

Handi'dogs Clisson
Eric Hochart, who was sitting, with his three dogs, was welcomed on his arrival at Clisson by his relatives who assisted him throughout the journey, and by members and recipients of Handi’chiens, including Pierre and Sylvie Huchet-Bodin (along with their service dogs). © HSM

A welcome committee waited impatiently for it on Friday, April 22, 2022 in the gallery of the Leclerc Shopping Mall in Clisson (near Nantes) where the Handi’chien Association had set up a stand for collecting donations. Some even drove the last few miles by his side to support him in one last effort. Because it took courage for this Breton to overcome 600 km of its journey.

Erik Huchart left from Plougonvelin, and FinistèreSaturday, April 9, with a wagon loaded with 40 kg and her three dogs, Jasmine and Métisse, two beaucerons aged 8 and 6, and Ixès, a 9-year-old jack russell dwarf pinscher.

Then he had one goal in mind: to join Clisson two weeks later. A city that he chose as a base because “it is the border of historic Brittany by the way to Compostela”. “There it is done!” He says exhausted but satisfied.

It was much harder than I had imagined. This time I set the bar a little high maybe.

“I suffered a lot”

This time because Eric is one tanned athlete. And if he has to live daily with one handicap who has given him permanent back pain since a traffic accident (he is 35% disabled), he is nonetheless a seasoned runner. “I have run 11 marathons and I have lost count of the seedlings,” he smiles. This journey could therefore have taken place without too many problems, but it was without expecting an inflammation of the tibia that came to complicate it from the first days.

I suffered a lot, I could not set foot on the ground, but I had to keep going, it’s all in my mind!

If he did not want to give up, it was because it was not just a sporting challenge. There was also one solidarity mission. Before he left, Eric actually had collected around € 6,000 for the Handi’chien association by “selling” the km he would then travel to companies and individuals.

Miles, which he swallowed by pulling his cart himself, where in his previous adventures it was his dogs who took care of it.

They are getting older and I first think about their well being so I would not wear them up but I had not imagined it would be that hard.

For it is not the first time that the long-distance runner puts his energy and time to the benefit of the association.

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The story between the two began in 2019. Eric then ran 485 km between Nantes and Brest to raise money for the Handi’chiens. In 2020, he then came to Mont-Saint-Michel and Quimper (365 km) then, the same year, chained laps of dam Quintin, in Côtes-d’Armor, where the association’s headquarters are located. This is also where he works.

“My dog ​​is important to me”

All in all, with this new adventure, the big-hearted runner has managed to raise the € 17,000 needed to fund a trained service dog. And even € 3,000 more. “This will allow the association to buy three more puppies,” said Sylvie Huchet-Bodin, Pays de la Loire ambassador for Handi’chiens Brittany, who lives in the vineyard of Nantes at La Bruffière.

She herself has had a service dog for 16 years. So she knows how important Eric’s gesture is. “Potter has been with me since December 7, 2020. He is crucial to me, it is as much physical as psychological support,” assures the person who was then involved in a traffic accident for a hospital infection and a genetic disease.

Since I have a dog, I regained 75% autonomy!

Next to her, Pierre, 12, is also in a wheelchair. He sometimes manages to do without, but for his mother, the respite periods are rarer and rarer. The young boy who lives in Guenrouët, in the Loire-Atlantique, has a circular hypersensitivity spectrum, “and like any spectrum we do not know much about it”, regrets Isabelle. What she is convinced of, however, is that since a guide dog came to their family, their whole lives have changed:

Pierre is taking half as much medicine now, do not ask me how it can be done, I can not explain it myself, but it is clearly the case! We waited three years to get him so we would like to be there to thank Eric for everything he does, he really is an extraordinary person.

To help the association

Since 1989 and the establishment of the association, 2,600 dogs have been trained to help people in need. it is assistance dogs for people with reduced mobility, alarm dogs for people with autism or Down syndrome, structural dogs for disabled or nursing homes, legal dogs that follow the victims throughout the process up to At the trial also palliative dogs who support the person at. the end of life, but also their family and caregivers, and even a Covid-19 detector dog who has recently been trained by the association.

“2,600 dogs are still that, but it is far too few compared to all the people who would need them. Only it is very expensive: it requires 17,000 euros for a trained dog and 1,000 euros for a puppy,” explains Sylvie Huchet-Bodin, who collects donations in her home (to be sent by check to Sylvie Huchet-Bodin – Handi’chiens – 4). to rue Jean Yole 85 530 La Bruffière).

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