How dogs are helping people connect in their local local community


Filming Pooches at Play has enabled me to see first hand just home dogs are helping people connect in their local community more than ever, and the important role they play in helping people overcome loneliness, isolation and anxiety.

This is not surprising of course, as there is an ever growing amount of research being done that shows the positive impact pets have on our lives.  It’s well known that they help to reduce stress and increase our feel good hormones through their unconditional love and support, as well as getting us out and about more for better health.

In the current TV series though it really does hit home, as we share the stories of some wonderful charities and other community organisations that are helping to support the elderly and other people in need who have come to rely on the company of their dog to help them get through life.

One of the first charities we met as we embarked on our caravanning adventure and hit the road to the Bellarine Peninsula in Victoria, Australia, was Cherished Pets.

Cherished Pets is a unique veterinary social enterprise established in 2015 in the Geelong region of Victoria, Australia by veterinarian Dr Alicia Kennedy. Their mission is to support companion pet ownership of vulnerable people and to support pets and their people through all life stages, including vulnerable times.  This is something that I would love to see replicated across the country, and indeed the world, to help ensure the elderly and others that need an extra hand to look after their pets so that they can look after them and stay together, get the assistance they need within their local community.

Why not contact your local government to find out what services they offer and volunteer your time to help walk dogs for those that can’t, or if a service does not exist, talk to them about setting one up?   It takes the support of your local government, a local vet and a community organisation or devoted person to get the ball rolling. Why can’t that be you?   I am sure if you reach out to Alicia at Cherished Pets as well, she can provide some advice on what it takes to get started.

To find out more about their great work you can visit their website for everything you need to know.  Fortunately, PETstock Assist is doing some great work to help them and other local community groups through their community grants program.

Throughout Series 4 we also meet some amazing dogs that are literally helping save lives, as well as people and groups that are helping provide forever homes to dogs and cats rescued from shelters and pounds.  Through the TV show and this website I aim to provide you with plenty of pet-friendly travel advice and information while also meeting up with some human and furry locals to share their tips on where to stay and what to do on your holidays together.

The one common thread in all of these stories is how dogs are helping people connect in their local community to the benefit of people, the dogs and the local community. This series is also packed full of other training, health, nutrition and grooming advice to help keep your pooch healthy and happy.

My ever faithful side-kick Dynamite Darcy is his usual entertaining self, demonstrating with great gusto the tips we need him to show off.  Though I must admit, as usual he does spend equally as much time sleeping his way through a segment in my arms.  Clearly he’s getting a bit to used to having a camera in his face!

As a brand funded TV show we couldn’t produce it without the support of our sponsors who are featured throughout the website.  Particularly our Major Partner, PETstock and Series Sponsors, Big Dog Pet Foods, the National Dog Trainers Federation, VitaPet, New Age Caravans and the Caravan Association of Victoria. So, if you like our content and want to see our show and website continue, please do show these partners your support. Even if it is a simple shout out via their social pages or website to thank them for helping us produce Pooches at Play.

At the end of the day it is about making the world a better place for people and their pets, so any support is greatly appreciated.

Until next time,

Lara & Darcy x


About the Author: Lara Shannon is co-Host of Pooches at Play and has completed a Certificate III in Dog Behaviour & Training with the National Dog Trainers Federation. Lara also runs her own dog training, minding and walking business in Melbourne’s Bayside area.

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