Blog Make more friends on a dog walk There are an estimated 8.5 million dogs in the UK according to the leading animal charity, the RSCPA. Many people own a dog due to the widely recognised benefits to the owner’s health and well-being. Man’s best friend needs a lot of looking after, and one of the main elements of care is giving a dog regular daily exercise. Half the houses in the UK have a pet, with the highest proportion of these being dogs. So, as the door to Day 7 of the Community Advent Calendar opens, we encourage all of you who like dogs to join a neighbour on their regular dog walk. We know, through our recent survey of the people we support, that 70% of respondents already know the names of the majority of their neighbours. So why not grab the opportunity to build on this community spirit and join your neighbour on a dog walk? How to start a conversation Many dog owners enjoy the socialising that having a dog offers, so try these simple steps to start the conversation with your neighbour: Hi [insert your neighbour's name]! What is your dog’s name? Is your dog friendly? Where do you walk your dog? I like dogs and would really like to join you on one of your dog walks - would that be okay with you? By taking each and every opportunity to engage with the people around us, we can all start to make inroads into the community. A great chance to meet people When you do join your neighbour on their dog walk, you will find other dog walkers say hello to each other and often stop to talk while their dogs play. Walking with a dog is a great way to break the ice and broaden your circle of friends. Xanthe Breen, senior press officer.