A dog instructor has encouraged her clients to teach their dogs to do tricks to support the NHS – including doing high fives.
The cute pets are all taking part in the ‘Paws up for the NHS’ challenge – which is hoping to raise £500 during the coronavirus lockdown.
Organiser Caroline Wilkinson says she launched the initiative to encourage owners to teach their animals tricks that mirror their behaviours.
For instance, dogs should remember to wipe their paws (wash their hands) and look behind (make sure there is a two-metre distance).
People taking part are being asked to donate a small amout to the NHS via a fundraising page.
Caroline, from Chipping Sodbury, Glos, said: “The idea came about as I have a number of friends who work for the NHS and I know they are finding things very stressful right now.
“I really wanted to do something to show my support for my friends and all the amazing keyworkers – so putting together a challenge to raise funds at the same time as giving owners and their dogs some light relief seemed like a great idea.
At the same time, the pet owners I’ve met online and have worked with have told me they have been worried about some of the ways lockdown has affected the behaviour of their dogs so things like restlessness, anxiety, barking more, being bored and destructive.
“While we’re loving the extra time we get to spend with our dogs – some of them are finding the change in routine quite difficult.
“As an animal behaviourist, I wanted to not only give these owners something to mentally stimulate and tire their dogs – but something that would bring a smile to their faces.
“Everyone is so thankful for all the NHS staff are doing at the moment so I thought I would combine fundraising and training!
“I’m hoping to raise £500 and we’re nearly halfway to that target within less than 24 hours.
“Having a pet with us at home during these unsettled times is great for our own mental health – as well as for enjoyment on our daily exercise.
“However we do need to be mindful of our dog’s emotional wellbeing as well.
“Hopefully, this challenge will raise everyone’s mood!”
You can donate to the page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/pawsupforthenhs.