As filming for Series 4 of Pooches at Play comes to an end, one of the biggest take-outs for me was how dogs are helping people connect in their local community more than ever, and the important role they play in helping people overcome loneliness, isolation and anxiety.

This is not surprising of course, as there is an ever growing amount of research being done that shows the positive impact pets have on our lives.  It’s well known that they help to reduce stress and increase our feel good hormones through their unconditional love and support, as well as getting us out and about more for better health.

In this series though it really does hit home, as we share the stories of some wonderful charities and other community organisations that are helping to support the elderly and other people in need who have come to rely on the company of their dog to help them get through life.

One of the first charities we met as we embarked on our caravanning adventure and hit the road to the Bellarine Peninsula was Cherished Pets.

Cherished Pets is a unique veterinary social enterprise established in 2015 in the Geelong region of Victoria, Australia by veterinarian Dr Alicia Kennedy. Their mission is to support companion pet ownership of vulnerable people and to support pets and their people through all life stages, including vulnerable times.  To find out more about their great work, or to find out more about you can help, visit their website HERE.

Fortunately, PETstock Assist is doing some great work to help them and other local community groups and charities as well via their community grants program. To find out more about how you can help support their foundation and help more people and pets in need, visit HERE.

We have also with some amazing dogs that are literally helping save lives, as well as people and groups that are helping provide forever homes to dogs and cats rescued from shelters and pounds.

Throughout each episode we will provide plenty of travel advice and information, whilst also meeting up with some human and furry locals to share their tips on where to stay and what to do on holidays.

The one common thread in all of these stories was showing how dogs are helping people connect in their local community,  to the benefit of people, the dogs and the local community.

The new series starts on Saturday July 20 at 2pm on Channel 10.   I am really proud of the results and can’t wait for you to see how far we have come since we started our Pooches at Play journey just two years ago when we first hit TV screens. If you have missed past episodes you can catch up here.

Our team, together with our show partners, have worked hard to make this series our best to date.  It is packed full of really useful information for travelling with your pet, as well as other training, health, nutrition and grooming advice to help keep your pooch healthy and happy on the road and back at home.

My ever faithful side-kick Dynamite Darcy is his usual entertaining self, demonstrating with great gusto the tips we need him to show off.  Though, I must admit, as usual he does spend equally as much time sleeping his way through a segment in my arms.   Clearly he’s getting a bit to used to having a camera in his face.   🙂

As a brand funded TV show we couldn’t produce it without the support of our sponsors who are featured throughout the website.  Particularly our Major Partner, PETstock and Series Sponsors, Big Dog Pet Foods, the National Dog Trainers Federation, VitaPet, New Age Caravans and the Caravan Association of Victoria.

Until next time,

Lara & Darcy x


About the Author: Lara Shannon is co-Host of Pooches at Play and has completed a Certificate III in Dog Behaviour & Training with the National Dog Trainers Federation. Lara also runs her own dog training, minding and walking business in Melbourne’s Bayside area.