Belfast Telegraph

He's some pup... meet Harvey, the SOS Bus volunteer who is just too doggone cute

By Rebecca Black

Meet the adorable Harvey.

He may be just nine weeks old but already he is helping with the vital work of the SOS NI bus.

As the brand new mascot of the charity that helps keep people safe in Belfast city centre every weekend, this little Bernese Mountain Dog will be a regular at fundraising events.

The charity said he has already proven a huge draw - breaking the ice with people in need, motivating volunteers and helping with fundraising by attracting visitors with his irresistible looks.

Harvey is the charity's newest mascot after the former Bernese Mountain Dog Finlay sadly became ill with lung cancer and passed away in May. His name was picked by the winner of a challenge on the charity's Facebook page.

The charity is now five years old and boss Joe Hyland said it was delighted with its new mascot.

"Finlay and Benson before him were TV stars, they were in Brandy (dog food) ads," he said.

"We were very sad when Finlay died, but now Harvey is becoming just as special to us. He may be just nine weeks old but he is already heavier than my five-year-old dog. He is gaining a kilo a week and you should see his massive paws. Then he has such a beautiful face - no one else gets a look-in when he is around."

Mr Hyland said the service was needed even more now than ever.

Its main work is on weekend nights when it stations a bus with medical equipment and friendly volunteers at Shaftesbury Square and the Odyssey, as well as two minibuses which move around the city.

More volunteers also patrol on foot, exploring even dark alleyways to find people in need of their help.

It recently raised enough money to buy a third minibus to meet the demand.

Mr Hyland said the charity had noticed fewer police officers on our streets, as was warned because of Stormont budget cuts.

"There is a high demand for the service, we have noticed changes recently too; a shift towards the Cathedral Quarter, more legal highs or psychoactive substances being taken, and also more people preloading before going out. They are drinking more before going out because they can't afford to drink at pub prices," he said.

  • Harvey the SOS NI mascot will be taking part in a fundraising collection today at Cityside shopping centre in north Belfast.


SOS NI is a charity that runs a vital service across Belfast city centre and also education programmes.

Over the past five years its team of more than 200 volunteers have clocked up over 20,560 hours, engaging with over 168,000 people and serving over 200,000 cups of tea, coffee and soup to thousands of revellers that descend on the city each weekend.

Belfast Telegraph


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