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How a dog-walking charity changed my life!  

Photo of dog walker and two dogs - benefits of dog walking and mental health
Aug 17 th 2022 Alana Zdinak - Sales & Marketing Director

In 2018, I found myself suffering from a bad case of the blues. Being a person known for a sunny disposition, my mood didn’t go unnoticed, and I was lucky to have a friend ask the ever-invaluable question of “Is everything OK?”. Her willingness to listen and offer compassion gave me the long-awaited opportunity to open up. I realized that although everything in my life was going objectively well, something was missing, and I longed for another form of companionship.  

Following our conversation, my friend suggested I contact the Cinnamon Trust, a charity organization dedicated to helping the elderly, terminally ill and their pets. The more I learnt about this wonderful charity, the more I wanted to be involved. Having grown up constantly surrounded by furry friends, it was a seemingly perfect fit. That day, I applied to be a dog walker and within a month, I received my first assignment. 

My first ‘clients’ were Oscar and Tilly – a Shih Tzu and pug mixed-breed, owned by a lady named Peggy. Although my enthusiasm didn’t curb their caution straight away, a trip to the nearest park meant it wasn’t long before we became the best of friends! Scientific evidence has demonstrated the spirit bolstering effects of dog walking, and I can certainly vouch for these effects firsthand.1 I also had the joy of getting to know Peggy who, over the course of 4 years, shared her stories of life growing up in London in the 1930s. 

After 2 years of visiting Peggy and walking the dogs every week, the Covid-19 pandemic hit. During this strange and chaotic time, I grew concerned about Oscar, Tilly and Peggy but thankfully, the Cinnamon Trust was quick to act and said that our volunteer credentials allowed us (if we were willing to) to maintain our dog walking duties– of course, with all precautions in place. With this go-ahead, I continued my dog walking. In fact, I increased my visits to three times per week, which on reflection was a fantastic decision as it provided much-needed structure during such an unpredictable time2.  

Oscar and Tilly are sadly no longer my clients; Tilly passed away and Oscar was rehomed after Peggy’s passing earlier this year. I am still a registered volunteer and waiting for my next assignment, but until then, I will happily pet every good boy (or girl!) I see. Let’s just say, I highly value AS&K’s dog-friendly office!  

In summary, while I wish every pet owner health and happiness throughout their pet’s lifetime, know that if your situation changes, the Cinnamon Trust is there to help you. If you’re a furry friend fan like myself, why not consider volunteering? I am exceedingly proud to be a volunteer and even prouder that my dog friendly agency has selected the Cinnamon Trust to be the recipient of our monthly donation! 

To Cinnamon Trust, AS&K thanks you for providing support to those who need it most! 





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