World Wildlife Day: Eco Dog Walk
Eco Dog Walking is an activity that we organize on the first Saturday of every month. We take the association's dogs (from our street rescue service and shelter) out into the forest as it allows us to socialize the rescue dogs with people. It is also an important training exercise as it helps to get the dogs used to being touched by people (as some are not used to being petted) and walking on a leash. We invite and encourage people to come and walk the dogs and play with them, as playing and interacting with a pet has many health benefits – both mental and physical – for people and dogs. Usually
children volunteer to walk the dogs, which allows people who do not own a dog to be able to spend some valuable time with the dogs.
As we walk through the forest, we also collect any garbage or litter, ensuring that the forest remains a clean and healthy environment for all. Therefore, our Eco Dog Walks are truly One Health events, as we aim to improve the health of people, animals, and the environment.
As we walk through the forest, we stop every few meters to speak to and educate both children and adults about rabies. Thanks to our trainer certificates on rabies (the Rabies Educator Certificate course) we are well equipped to share our knowledge and spread the message about rabies and responsible dog ownership. We, of course, try not to frighten the children but rather teach them to practice the right actions. At the end of our walk, we finish with another short activity such as yoga, which is as a relaxing and enjoyable way to end the day.
Recently, our Eco Dog Walking event drew the attention of the Directorate General of Forests Noreddine Baaziz, who invited us to celebrate World Wildlife Day with them in the forest. They supported us and asked us to set up a stand to raise awareness on rabies and responsible dog ownership. To do this, we printed more than 400 copies of the GARC “Want a Friend, Be a Friend” activity booklet for children and we prepared various activities to raise their awareness while they were having fun with the dogs.
Thanks to the opportunity today (World Wildlife Day), we were able to prove to people that stray dogs are not dangerous, but on the contrary, that they are affectionate and kind. We gave many of the booklets to the children and even autographed them! In conclusion, we spread awareness whilst having fun.
Article contributed by Haifa Rezagui, BCHE
Learn more about Haifa and her efforts in Algeria on their Facebook page.