You may have heard us talking about workplace wellbeing, and the importance of happy staff here at Viva PR. From our sound baths to our 20-minute walks, we’re up for anything that’s good for the soulhere at HQ.
One of the things boss man Tony encourages us to do is take part in 16 hours of volunteering a year. This can be done in work time, too, as we believe it’s important to give back to the community.
Last year, Account Manager and dog-mum Hannah went to Bleakholt to walk some downright adorable little pups. I admit, quite shamefully, I’d never properly volunteered anywhere before, so I decided to follow, quite literally, in Hannah’s footsteps and spend the afternoon in the Edenfield countryside with some of the dogs.
Naturally, I was looking forward to spending a few hours in the sun with some doggies in much need of some extra love, but it wasn’t exactly the walk in the park that I expected.
Dog Walking, but not as you know it…
After quite a thorough induction, I was able to take my pass and head over to the kennels. At Bleakholt, you’re offered two kinds of passes. Green is for anyone who doesn’t want a dog that might have difficulties when out and about. Blue passes are for people who have some experience with dogs and are comfortable with a pooch who pulls on the lead. I went for blue.
The first furry friend I took around the walking circuit was Nipper. Nipper was 100% deaf and therefore wasn’t that responsive, but he loved a tickle behind the ear. However, because Nipper is deaf, he relied a lot more on his sense of smell and was stopping every five minutes to tug this way and that to have a good sniff. It took a while, but we made it back from our adventure in once piece.
Next up was Barney, an 8-month old Border Collie who had come to the shelter as his current owners couldn’t keep up with his high energy levels. Barney only had two ways of walking: either full pelt, or not moving at all. It took a little while longer to get Barney round the circuit, partly because there were some paths he did not want to walk down and dug his heels in, and partly because Barney stopped to say hello to everyone we met on our jolly outing.
Being used to walking a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who stays by my side and only pauses to try and eat the grass in the park, taking the dogs at Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary out was a world away. My intentions for signing up may have not been wholly selfless, but by the end of the afternoon I realised just how much attention and care these dogs needed.
The dogs in particular need of some extra attention were those who were more difficult on the lead, as they were the last to be picked for walkies. Half an hour of exercise for me, meant even more to the dogs that I was taking out.
Spending 20 minutes on a walk with a dog who needs a home might be a good place to start. Not only does it give our four-legged friends some quality time outdoors, but it helps the staff concentrate on finding forever families and other important tasks at the charity.
I would wholly recommend Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary as a place to go if you’re looking for a new pet, or if you want to donate your time and help a great cause.
Nic Parkes | Junior Accounts Exec