Monday, 30 November -0001

Green Dogs

Green dogs are this season’s colour, discovers Sam Taylor

Written by Sam Taylor
This summer, dog walkers in Hastings are being encouraged to ‘take the pledge’. To wear a badge that says they are out and proud members of the new Green Dog Walkers initiative. Hastings Borough Council is one of the first councils in England to embrace this community programme – which originated in Falkirk, Scotland – aimed, simply enough, at getting us to take responsibility for our dogs. And, crucially, professional dog walkers: as our devotion to pet ownership grows, so does the industry around it.

Students who might once have laid out deckchairs on the beach (those were the days) now offer temporary walking services to holidaymakers who don’t want to leave their pets at home, but do want to spend the day strolling around Battle Abbey or the ruins of William the Conqueror’s castle, neither of which allow dogs. Despite their acres of open-air space.

The services offered can vary from a barely awake but quite smiley teenager who will stand outside your chosen visitor attraction attached to your pooch for a couple of hours, to a semi-professional who has been on the circuit for several seasons and can offer optional itineraries. A stroll and stroke, followed by a couple of hours stretched out in the rented cottage, perhaps, while you have a guilt-free lunch. Or supper. Yes, some owners very much view their dogs as like children – and why not?


These dilettante dog walkers, however, are up against stiff competition from the all-yearround professional agencies, with waiting lists stretching several summers ahead. Some offering an elite service for those clients who insist their dogs are more sensitive or nervous than most. Ideal for those dogs who eschew the pavement in favour of travelling by handbag, and eat ‘organic’.

It is these dogs (and clients) who will be keenest for their walker to be a Green Dog Walkers badge-wearer. Which means they are making a commitment to preserving the environment (of course). Will always clean up after their dogs (naturally). And carry extra bags for those walkers who find themselves caught short. They must also undertake to be non-confrontational. So, no shouting at those who haven’t twigged that the colour for dogs this season is green.

Next week: View envy

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