‘Status’ dogs and their owners get a bad rap, but both Chris and Blue Cross believe that so much can be solved through listening to people and trying to answer their questions.
While some people do take on dogs simply to promote a particular impression of themselves, most young people care about their dogs very much and their pets are their companions.
Chris says: “Actually, people aren’t bad, and even those who you might think aren’t caring for their dogs in the best way are doing so because of a lack of knowledge.
“When I do workshops with this age group I’m often told to expect to be ignored, but those in charge are often surprised when an hour later I’m still there and I’m still having a discussion with the group. It can be a tough audience, but when they realise that you’re not there to preach at them, you can have a good chat.
“Young people really want to know what’s best for their dogs, it’s just that no one’s ever been on hand to help them learn before and there’s been no one there for them to ask. I’m not there to judge anyone.”
Though he’s now been promoting animal welfare for Blue Cross for getting on for a decade, Chris is still really enjoying his role, and no two workshops are the same.
He says: “There’s no such thing as a typical session! That’s what I enjoy about it. Every single session is different.
“If you are thinking about becoming a Blue Cross Education Volunteer, just do it. Its good fun and you have a real laugh with the kids, and you are helping then become responsible pet owners in the future. The Education Team is a great group of people to work with too and I feel very much part of the team.”
Tracy Genever, Head of Education at Blue Cross, says: “Chris and our other wonderful volunteers make a huge difference and encourage respect for all animals by helping young people to understand the importance of responsible pet ownership.
“We need people from all around the UK to get involved and spread the word. We’re looking for people who are clearly spoken, are confident, and able to show empathy when talking to a variety of groups across a range of ages about the needs of pets and staying safe around them.”