Walking the black dog


Out for a daily stroll. Source:Sharn Kennedy

Our canine friends have always been good to us, but a Brisbane organisation hopes to connect those who may not have their own to those who need it the most.

Borrow Dogs is an organisation which connects pets whose owners may not have time with those who can’t have their own pets at home.

But the service hopes to achieve more then just that.

As founder of the organisation Carolyn Cullen soon discovered that the service was an effective way of helping her manage depression with the help of a friends dog Ollie.

“Whenever I would be feeling down or just needed something to take my mind off things I would go around and see Ollie. He knew who I was so he was always excited to see me and the owners didn’t mind. Dogs don’t discriminate either and I just thought that others could benefit from this as well” she said.

Carolyn thought of the initial concept as she was walking Ollie one day reflecting on how others like her might be in the same position.

“It then just came to me that so many others might be in my position and how hard it would be for them to find someone like I did.”

Jacki Gordon the author of ‘My dog, my friend’ is an expert in the relationship between dogs and humans, saying that the service could be beneficial to those in the community facing considerable mental health challenges.

Jacki also covers how dogs and other pets are shown to provide social support to their owners and those interacting with them.

“where someone has a mental health problem, having a dog at one’s side might make a huge difference.”

When approached with the idea the Black Dog Institute stated that whilst there is no official evidence that dogs have a positive effect on assisting in depression.

However they also recognised that there is an growing amount of stories where people have confirmed that having a dog or a pet has had a positive effect on a mental health issue.

Every year in Australia one in five will suffer from a mental health issue, whilst the service is still in the preliminary stages it could provide extra support for those who might just need one of our little friends to help take their mind off things.

From our police force, to the farms and even helping the vision impaired man’s best friend knows no bounds to love and how they can effect our lives. 


Sharn Kennedy

Griffith University - Journalist

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