GDW is everywhere, or close to it. In addition to Falkirk Council (where it began in partnership with CGI back in 2008), additional licensed local authorities which are running the project include: Fife, Normand Park London, Perth/Kinross, Midlothian, Highlands, Angus, South Gloucestershire, Swale Borough, Southeast Region Ireland, Greater Dublin, City of Edinburgh, Moray, Durham, Middlesborough, Hastings, Red Car & Cleveland, Lewisham, Craven, City of Bradford Metro District Council — and more are currently in discussion.
GDW went on the road in November with Scottish Natural Heritage’s programme for professional dog walkers. A successful pilot workshop was run in Falkirk in February this year with consultant Steve Jenkinson and Anne Murray from SNH at the helm, in which GDW took part. Articles on this SNH campaign, giving national attention to GDW, have appeared in Steve’s column in Your Dog Magazine in 2013.
The November workshops were run by a team composed of Theresa Kewell, Communications Officer Scottish Natural Heritage; Steve Jenkinson, Kennel Club Access Advisor; Michelle MillerAllen of the GDW project (representing both Falkirk Council and Community Green Initiative); Carl Howman Amenity Protection officer of East Lothian Council; plus local vet surgeries. The workshops took place in Thornliebank, Milngavie, Cowdenbeath, Fife, Dundee and Aberdeen.
Overall, approximately 240 attendees were treated to a full explanation of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code, the history and value of the Green Dog Walkers project, the successful professional dog walkers certification project from East Lothian Council and the wisdom of local vet surgeries with tips on everything from dog first aid to parasites. A full report on the outcome of the workshops will follow soon but the general feeling of the team and the feedback from attendees is that it was an evening well spent at each venue, and a good step toward better professional dog walking services in Scotland.