Devon Loves Dogs

I think we would all agree it’s been a very strange year but as I sit and think about how I would sum up 2020 for Devon Loves Dogs three things come to mind, people, places and of course dogs!

First the people, Devon Loves Dogs is run by me, with a much bigger team of supporters behind the scenes. The difficulties that we are continuing to deal with on a daily basis can feel never ending, but these same shared experiences I feel, have brought us closer together. We’ve had to adapt our working procedures too, but one of the big benefits for me is that I’ve had the pleasure of working with Amelia and Will much more than I would in a normal year.

This has given me a really fascinating insight into the wildlife that we all work to protect. I’ve also missed the buzz of events and our Waggy Walks but I have still been able to chat to dog owners and meet their furry friends whilst out and about.

Secondly the places, over the year I’ve witnessed everything from quiet roads and deserted beaches to unprecedented numbers of visitors to our protected wildlife sites. It’s been a bit like looking into the future. The work of the South East Devon Habitat Regulations Partnership (SEDHRP) is all about protecting the countryside now so that as populations increase our special wildlife areas can still thrive. Lockdown and the huge numbers of visitors to these sites has highlighted why it’s so important to spread our messages now – before it’s too late.

And finally, the dogs. The reason I love my job so much is that I know how beneficial dogs are to us, whether that be as working companions or as part of the family. For so many people this year, more than ever, dogs have been a lifeline. They are a reason to get up and out every day, a reason for us to get some fresh air and exercise, a conversation starter, a comfort and a friend. Personally my own dog Maisie has been my constant companion, she is part of our family, she makes us laugh every day and our daily walks are often the highlight of my day.

We may not be out and about as much as we would like at the moment but behind the scenes I’m busy planning for next year. Once restrictions are lifted we’ll be restarting our programme of free Waggy Walks and are planning some new and exciting dog friendly events.

For more information or to join as a member either go to our website or follow us on social media @devonlovesdogs 

Julie Owen, Project Officer

A photo of people and dogs on a waggy walk with Devon Loves Dogs
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