Oh oh! Can this be true?
“A dog is one of the remaining reasons why some people can be persuaded to go for a walk.” – O.A. Battista.
Is it that difficult to get motivated these days, even to just go for a walk? Some of us can’t take on the responsibilities of a dog, but could benefit greatly by taking a dog for walk. Read about how the Ozark Greenways (a citizen’s group for developing a greenway trail network) teamed up with the Humane Society to combine their resources and come up with a fantastic solution that benefits us humans as well as our four-legged friends. What a great idea!
We all know that including walking in your exercise routine will
- reduce stress,
- tone muscles,
- improve bone density, and
- lower cholesterol.
It turns out walking benefits have similar impacts for dogs. Additionally dogs enjoy the same sights, sounds and far superior to their humans the smells of the great outdoors.
Therefore it only took about 20-minutes for Mary Cooper, a board member of the SMHS, to convince Ozark Greenways executive Terry Whaley that the health and happiness of human volunteers and dogs could each be greatly enhanced by creating a dog walking exercise trail for volunteers to exercise the Humane Society guests. With the dogs being calmer through the benefits of a more active exercise the humane society also hopes that adoption rate might increase.
To get things started the Ozark Greenways survey team thinking like a dog sniffed out an initial loop trail through a vine clogged, densely wooded, storm ravaged section of the humane society property just a few steps outside their new shelter facility. A combination of volunteers from the humane society, Ozark Greenways and at last count four different Eagle Scouts teamed up and chipped away to achieved the initial clearing, grubbing, and removal of brush to carve out the current 1,100-foot wood chipped trail. While still in its first phase of development these society dogs can now run over the lawn, through the woods and down a trail reducing a bit of stress while lodging in unfamiliar territory, in hopes of landing a new home.
Having a dog leads to great responsibility. Taking care of the dog means giving it food, water, attention, and exercise to keep man’s best friend in tip top shape. Some people cannot keep up with these tasks on a regular basis because of work, school, or financial reasons. Lucky for them the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri in Springfield, MO is going to be starting a new program in September 2011, “Walk a hound lose a pound”. With this new trail they are urging people of all ages to come and try it out. The spin is that they will be offered a lovable, playful dog to share their walk with. Not only is the trail more interesting for the dogs with smells, sights and sounds and far more stimulating than the previous walking area which was the limited front lawn boarding the parking lot, but it’s also more interesting and comforting for the volunteers walking these dogs as well.
Some of the benefits include: less stress, Loss of weight, increase in healthy habits, and building of strong muscles. The people walking the dogs get some benefits too. Walking a dog can lead to a lower risk of high blood pressure, a trimmer waistline and fewer chronic conditions (ArthritisToday.org).
SOURCE: Mark Bonham at AmericanTrails.org