Becoming a volunteer dog walker for Cardiff Dogs Home...

Monday, 4 August 2014
Last Sunday I had one of the best mornings of my life, I finally accomplished something that I have been so keen to do for many years - I have finally become a volunteer dog walker at Cardiff Dogs Home. Based in Penarth Cardiff Dogs Home takes in around 1200 stray dogs each year, at any one time there is around 40 dogs in the kennels - all loved dearly by the staff and volunteers.

Way back on January the 2nd I registered my interest to become a volunteer dog walker on the Friends of the Dogs forum. As I said it was something that I had wanted to do for years, I can't have a dog at the moment myself so this selfishly benefits me in that I can pretend for a couple of hours each week that I do have one. 

Our induction was so interesting, I was hooked on every word, listening to how the charity works and the background of the dogs home. Since the charity started 3 years ago they have not lost a single dog to space, yes I mean putting a healthy dog to sleep because there is no room for more. I can't even begin to tell you how happy that makes me as I was under the (very wrong) impression that after 7 days the dog gets put down. 

We learnt how to handle the dogs at the dogs home. As they are waiting for adoption you can't "train" them. Basically we are there to get the dogs out of the kennel, short of stopping any lead tugging and barking by distraction - you just entertain the dogs. For that walk you are the most important person in that dogs life - enjoy it. 

The charity has improved the dogs home so much from what it was. The kennels are old, but the facilities these dogs have access to are pretty amazing, there is a whole sensory garden where they can enjoy the freedom of being off the lead and there is even a fly running course being built soon!

After a two hour long induction in the sunshine and listening to the dogs barking (they could tell something was happening outside!) we finally got our walker numbers, leads and most importantly our first dog to walk. I partnered up with Cheryl and we stood excitedly outside waiting for our dog. 

 Out came Saffron (known to us now as Saffy) a leggy scruff bag, skinny, flakey skin and clearly neglected in a former life. We were instantly in love. There was something about Saffy that just emits this air of affection when she is around. I can't really describe it. We knew we would fall in love the moment we walked any dog, but this felt different. I'm sure everyone says it but this dog would have come home with me that day if I was in a position to adopt. Read more about her here

To be honest I can't quite put into words how much I want to be there 24/7 helping out and getting the dogs out of their kennels. It's made me really think about a lot of things. 
Some people may wonder what's the point of volunteering as you can't save every dog, but as I said before in that hour that you are with the dog
you are the most important person in their world and it's that thought that will keep me going back every single moment I can. 




  1. aw, bless your heart for doing this! It's people like you who make a dog's life in a rescue centre, happy!! I have a rescue dog already and we're getting the ferry over to Ireland on the 17th August to collect our new dog, a rescue greyhound, I can't wait!!

  2. I think this is one of the loveliest things I've read today Charli! I would absolutely love to do this as I am a HUGE animal lover, but I'd also be incredibly sad seeing them all, and as awful as that sounds i'd rather not see them. Seriuously, when I see a little mouse in the garden I feel sorry for it. Like I cry that it might be lost, so I'd probably end up bringing home all the dogs in the world. And I would if I could afford it. But anyway, it's a really nice thing what you're doing! xx

  3. I love that you are doing this. Such a rewarding thing! And you get to spend time with all these cute dogs!
    ​Leanne @ Leanne-Marie ​ x​​x

  4. One of the many reasons why I love you Charls. Such a lovely thing to do!