It is July and the sun is (just about) starting to shine, so it is time to get out into the great outdoors. And what better way to do it than by taking your dog for a walk while raising money for Guide Dogs? Go Walkies is our series of sponsored dog walks with a difference, the twist being that it is the dog who is sponsored to take part, rather than the human!
I personally love getting out into the fresh air with my boxer dog, Boogie. Our favourite walk is along the Ridgeway National Trail near the village of West Hendred, on the Berkshire/Oxfordshire border. It’s one of those walks where we can truly get away from it all, and there is plenty of space for Boogie to run around in wide circles at high speed to let off some steam. The views are staggering and there is so much wonderful wildlife, too.
Not only is it good for you and your dog, but it is also a great activity that the whole family can get involved in. To prove my point, we are lucky enough to have Essex’s favourite mother and daughter duo, Debbie Douglas and Lydia Bright, as Go Walkies celebrity ambassadors. Best known for their roles in ITV1’s The Only Way is Essex, they have already taken part in a Go Walkies in Chelmsford.
Go Walkies events take place all year round right across the UK, including Rossall Promenade in Lancashire and the Belfast Pride Family Fun Day. It’s easy to find out if there is a Go Walkies near you on the website – just visit www.gowalkies.org.uk. Don’t worry if you don’t have a canine companion. You can borrow a dog, walk an imaginary dog or even dress up as a dog to take part! We do not mind so long as you come along, enjoy yourself and perhaps even make a few new friends.
If you want to organise your own event, there is a brilliant downloadable toolkit with everything you need, from signage and sponsor forms to posters and certificates. If you are a teacher, we also have a fantastic Go Walkies @ School programme, where you can raise money to sponsor or even name a guide dog puppy. Finally, if you really cannot make it to a Go Walkies, you can still help by sponsoring Clover, our official Go Walkies mascot.