From bright, spring days with flowers bursting from the ground, to beautiful, autumnal hues with leaves falling all around you and your companion, taking a dog for a walk can be a great pleasure. So, what better way to do a good turn than by getting involved with volunteer dog walking?
Why Volunteer With A Dog Walking Charity?
As well as the benefit to your own health and wellbeing, you can do a lot of good by helping charities that need dog walkers. Animal shelters and rescue centres often have a lot of dogs that need plenty of exercise, and they rely heavily on volunteers to provide it.
There are other circumstances where you can be a great help by taking dogs out for walks. This can include guide dogs, for example, when the people they are helping are unable to walk themselves for any number of reasons. Whatever your motivation, volunteering your time in this way can be a great thing to do if you're unable to have your own dog for some reason.
How To Help Dog Walking Charities
VOLUNTEER WITH A SHELTER OR RESCUE CENTRE
Charities such as Dogs Trust do a lot of great work in rescuing dogs and finding them new homes. While they wait for a family to take them on, dogs in rescue centres still need to be exercised, and this will be one of the things you can help out with when you volunteer. You'll get to take out lots of different dogs, while photography skills are always appreciated so you can document your walks for website and social media purposes.
HELP WITH REHOMING
If you're volunteering at a rescue centre, the goal is to find a new home for each and every dog. Keeping them healthy and well socialised will only boost their chances of finding a new family. Top marks if you can take on a new pet yourself, but it's also worth talking about adoption to any friends or family considering getting a dog too.
HELP TO WALK GUIDE DOGS
Dogs that help people with blindness or hearing problems usually get all the exercise they need with their owner. However, sometimes illness or injury can prevent these people from being able to take their dog out. Old age can also be a factor. This is where you can step in, to help a service dog get enough exercise to keep them happy and healthy.
HELP THE ELDERLY
Having a dog can be a wonderful source of companionship for older people. However, as their own mobility becomes more restricted with age, it can be tough for them to exercise their pets. This is of course bad for a dog's health, which is why charities such as the Cinnamon Trust unite volunteers with elderly and terminally ill people who need help with their pet.
Things To Know Before You Get Started
- Lots of charities will allow you to volunteer as much or as little of your time as you like.
- You may need to commit to a minimum number of walks per week in order to volunteer with some organisations. Walking with a guide dog, for example, you may need to be able to take them out three times a week, although days and times can be flexible.
- Most charities will give you an induction and start you off small in terms of dog size. Once you're used to everything, you can then move up to larger breeds.
Where To Get Started
If you're raring to get out there, why not give Dogs Trust a shout and see if they need help walking dogs. Our amazing players have raised over £9.5 Million for the charity so far, and you could help give even more by signing up to play People's Postcode Lottery too.