Dog walking could be a great way to get active with a waggy tail & canine friend at your side. And there are plenty of people and charities who need help. Here are some ideas:
Help with dog care for the elderly
Help care for a dog whose owner is elderly or terminally ill, or offer to walk a dog for a friend who is sick, or going through a tricky patch (such as a divorce) or an elderly neighbour who is beginning to find it hard to walk their dog daily. Your help can make the difference between the pet owner keeping the dog and giving him up. The Cinnamon Trust needs reliable volunteers (here is the map with their urgent needs for volunteers) who fully understand the magic of the animal-human bond to help with dog walking for owners who are elderly or terminally ill. And if you're looking for someone to help an elderly person or someone who is terminally ill with pet care, get in touch with the Cinnamon Trust - you can read their lovely blog here
Help train an assistance dog
Helping to Train an Assistance Dog. Canine Partners for example look for bed and breakfast situations for their dogs, where the animals in training are based in their Sussex-based headquarters during the working week day and you pick them up at 5 every day to take them home, dropping them off at in the mornings. They are also on the look out for puppy parents who are willing to train pups to become assistance dogs
Foster a dog
Even if you cannot take a dog permanently, perhaps you could offer to FOSTER a dog i.e. offer temporary accommodation for a dog who is looking for a home but not doing well in kennels in a rescue centre. An example is the Pet Foster Support Service in Scotland
Help out at your local animal rescue centre
There are hundreds of small and large centres round the country and they all need help. Even if they do not need hands-on-fur help, many will welcome your efforts to raise money for them through sponsored walks, runs, swims, slims and helping with all sorts of activities to help keep them going. See below for examples. This doesn't have to involve walking. One lady over 80 in New Zealand knits blankets and squares for her local animal charity
Walking a dog two or three times a day could help your health & wellbeing:
You could see if these charities need your help; some have branches or shops all over the country, while others are one-offs. Dog Rescue Pages below will take you through to many small charities.
Specialist Charities or groups caring for a breed eg. Border Terrier Welfare, The Edward Foundation (for Bulldogs), BIGGSD (German Shepherds)
Spread the word. Friends and family throughout the world may be able to help. Volunteering could be just the thing they are looking for!
Other ways to help are:
Could this be a new businss? Walking dogs while their owners are at work - great exericse for you and it's fulfilling an owners need and caring for dogs.
Could this be a new career or business for you? Franchises abound, and you could find yourself with a mobile grooming salon or setting up in business in conjunction with a kennel
Caring for dogs who have retired
Many dogs give their lives in service to others, whether they are assisting someone with a disability, doing search and rescue or playing their role in the security services. Could you give these well trained and professional animals a well deserved retirement?