TV presenter Lorraine Kelly is spearheading a new campaign designed to tackle winter loneliness, by hosting a series of podcasts celebrating the special relationships dogs help us form.
‘Paws to Talk’ episodes are being released on all major podcast platforms throughout October – or ‘Dogtober’ – as it is being dubbed. The podcasts will feature Lorraine talking with people to discover how their assistance dogs have helped them to build their confidence and social connections.
The move comes as the charity Dogs for Good and insurance provider More Than surveyed Brits about the scale of isolation in the UK. Almost two-fifths of people surveyed and nearly half of people with disabilities who were asked stated they regularly feel lonely.
The poll also revealed that those with dogs are generally more sociable, with dog owners likely to go for a walk at least once a day and have opportunities to strike up conversations with new people. The effect is even more pronounced for disabled dog owners with 70% saying they are approached more when accompanied by their four-legged friends.
Lorraine said of the campaign: “When winter closes in, my dog Angus gets me out of the house and chatting to people, even when I would sometimes rather stay home with a cup of tea. He needs his daily walks and plays a crucial role in inspiring my daily conversations.
“I hope by sharing these stories, we can encourage other dog owners and dog lovers to take time to chat and make new friends.”
Peter Gorbing, CEO of Dogs for Good, added: “Our research shows that dog owners take more walks and have more meaningful connections with new people while out and about.
“So, when you’re in need of some social interaction this Dogtober, take your dog out for a stroll in a park or their favourite beach and enjoy the wellness benefits that this quality time is sure to bring.”
To support Dogtober and to raise vital funds for Dog for Good, people are being encouraged to visit the Dogs for Good website and sign up for a fundraising challenge to walk 100km throughout the month.
Find out more about the challenge and listen to Lorraine Kelly’s podcast at the Dogs for Good website.