How our canine friends can help you raise your profile, generate income, involve the community and get more people more active

According to Census data 21% of UK households own a dog and various estimates based on consumer research suggest the total number of dogs in Britain exceed 10 (ten) million. For many people the main exercise they get is walking their dog so therefore it is not surprising that we are seeing some great initiatives using our relationship with our furry friends. Here are two initiatives which are relatively to replicate:

The Great North Dog Walk 2010 breaks world record

The World record for the greatest ever Doggy Walk was set on Sunday 13th June in South Shields, Newcastle. 18,113 dogs (of 178 breeds) and their owners enjoyed the 3.5 mile (5.6km) walk which follows a coastal route along the cliffs with magnificent sea views. There were four different routes of varying lengths to cater for everyone within the community and over varying surfaces like grass, gravel and concrete. This therefore allowed for baby buggies, wheelchairs, the young, the elderly, disabled and also older dogs to support this world record attempt.

Whilst the emphasis of the event is on participation and enjoyment if you want to you can enter competitions on fastest runner, fastest junior and fastest senior.

The Great North Dog Walk is the brain-child of Tony Carlisle and was founded by him in 1990, when a couple of hundred dogs participated. Tony is a college teacher who has won the United Kingdom Fund-Raiser of the Year on three occasions and has raised over £4.2m for charitable causes.

As you can tell from the website http://www.greatnorthdogwalk.co.uk/GNDW/index.htm the whole atmosphere on the day is truly great.

Anybody with access to a decent size piece of land for start area and a route for the walk can start up a doggy, whether you are a leisure centre or sports club. Whereas the Great North Dog Walk raises money for dog-related charities I would suggest that your local Doggy Walk

1. links up with local pet/dog rescue home and share the money raised 50/50 between your club’s community programme and the rescue home

2. link up with local dog walkers, pet shops, dog groomers, vets and other pet related organisations. Even the Police dog handlers could do a demo (and your poodle could become an honorary police dog for the day!).

3. Invite local dog-owning celebs to start the walk

Next week How CaniX – (running with your dog to you and me) keeps growing

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