Volunteer group ensuring frontline workers' dogs getting enough exercise
KITCHENER -- Frontline workers' dogs are still getting plenty of exercise, thanks to a local dog walking group.
Zoomies matches dog owners with dog walkers to help pets stay active during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Personal service worker Alicia Lee signed her dog, Mindy, up for the service to make sure her pup gets extra walks while she's at work.
"After work, you're just tired," Lee said. "Especially after those six to two shifts, those aren't nice."
Signing up for the dog walking service was a weight off Lee's shoulders.
Jasper Newton started the initiative when the pandemic hit.
"There weren't a lot of initiatives out there, or any that I could find, that were really supporting dog owners during this time," Newton said.
The service is aimed at front-line workers, but is also available for anyone who needs a bit of extra help amid COVID-19.
"[We're] also looking to help seniors, the immunocompromised, single parents or those who are pregant," Newton said. "Just really anyone that's struggling and doesn't have the means to afford a walker at this time."
The program is available across Ontario.
"I just walk one dog and then it varies how much you want to walk the dog," volunteer Jacob Russell explained. "You could walk it as much or as little as you want, just depending on your schedule."
Volunteers keep physical distancing and other protocols in place when picking up the dogs.
Newton plans to keep the service available throughout the pandemic, but will likely dissolve it once things return to normal because she doesn't want to take business away from professional dog walkers.