Hackney’s sick residents spared agony of giving up their dogs

Some of the dogs that Jamie walks

Some of the dogs that Jamie walks - Credit: Archant

A charitable dog walker is offering his services for free to the sick, disabled and elderly to enable them to keep their pets in their time of need.

Jamie Bailey

Jamie Bailey - Credit: Archant

Jamie Bailey, of Downs Road, Hackney Downs, was spurred on to help after witnessing first hand the devastation his terminally ill grandmother felt at having to rehome her dog.

The 36-year-old, who swapped his job in luxury retail for his dog walking business Citidog six months ago, is now helping those in a similar situation to ensure they don’t experience the same heartache.

He said: “It was heartbreaking for my grandmother to lose her dog and suffer that bereavement, and the impotence of not being able to look after your animal. You lose independence and a quality of life.

“But with a bit of help that doesn’t have to be the way. There are lots of charities that do a good job at helping the person and families but maybe not with the smaller things, like pets.”

Mr Bailey said the medical and psychological advantages of being able to keep an animal at home were proven.

He said: “I have always had animals and grown up in an environment where we have always had animals. People who have had dogs love them like – or more – than members of their family. I know it would be absolutely heartbreaking to lose them.

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“Animals are companions and they can help with illness because caring for them can increase your self confidence and reduce stress. The bereavement of losing your animal on top of an illness, when you are going through the toughest time ever, is huge.

“It is also important for an animal to be exercised and socialised as the dog will suffer or become unmanageable.

“If we take a dog from someone that is poorly for at least an hour, it is socialising with other dogs which helps with behaviour, making them much calmer and more relaxed and the owner is left with is a happy dog they can manage more easily.

“We want to be able to make sure we can help people, even if just a handful benefit. To take one extra dog on our walks for free is of no consequence to us.”

Mr Bailey is currently working with local charities to forge partnerships and get referrals of people who are in need of help to manage their dogs.

For more, visit: citidog.co.uk