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It's not just us who need walkies.


3:01pm 9th January 2011

Dog walking for everyone is a new health walk being introduced in York from February - but no dog is required!

City of York Council's Sport and Active Leisure department has teamed up with the RSPCA Animals' Home in Clifton, to arrange group walks for the dogs in its care.

The walks will take place every Monday at 11.15am and 12.30pm and will last approximately one hour. Each volunteer will be matched with a dog on arrival for one of the walks and will walk together as a group.  Volunteers are first asked to attend a training session (including an initial walk with the dogs) on Monday 14 or Monday 28 February, where they will receive basic but important instructions on dog handling.  No previous experience of dog walking is required and the walks are accessible for everyone.

The Dog Walkies initiative is one of the new walks organised as part of the city's Walking for Health programme of free led walks. Walking has many health benefits and walking a furry companion from the RSPCA helps keep the dog happy and healthy too. The group walks will be fun and sociable, and an experienced walk leader will accompany the group every week.

Fiona Barker, the council's Active Living officer, says:

"'Health Walkies is an exciting addition to the popular Health walk programme in York. It's great that the scheme is now linking with local charities to support their work, whilst encouraging York residents to become more active themselves.

"Remember, Health Walkies will count as your 30 minutes exercise needed each day for a healthier lifestyle.  Most importantly you'll be helping the dogs get out and about for a bit of exercise too!"

Angela Hunter, Branch Manager of RSPCA York and District is grateful for the help coming from volunteers.  She says "We are delighted to team up with this excellent initiative. This will benefit the walkers and our dogs who will be to be out of their kennels, enjoying a nice long walk."

The RSPCA may have as many as 30 dogs in its care at any one time, so Fiona is keen to recruit as many volunteers as possible.  If you think that you can help out, or would like further details about the other led walks in York, please contact Fiona on 01904 553440 or email fiona.barker@york.gov.uk. 

Volunteers should all register with Fiona before taking part.

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