Guys walk (the dog) and talk about mental health
Dudes & Dogs is an initiative that supports men in talking about their mental health in a safe and relaxed environment, through weekly walks across the country.
By Charley Rogers
Although in-person walks stopped during lockdown, with virtual versions taking their place, now restrictions are easing, Dudes & Dogs are back.
Following the UK government’s Lockdown Exit Roadmap, south Bristol walks re-started on Saturday, April 3 at 10am, and are taking place every Saturday and Sunday from then on.
Charlie Taylor, co-owner of KASK in Bedminster, and South Bristol Dog Dude, said: “There’s a lot in the news right now about mental health and lots of encouragement for men to open up, but there still aren’t enough avenues for us to do so. Dudes & Dogs creates an informal and relaxed setting that gets us out into the open air (and the beautiful countryside around Bristol) on a weekend morning, providing the opportunity to unburden and set ourselves up for a great weekend.
“There’s no pressure to share – but there is the opportunity to do so, and having the dogs along with us for the walk provides a certain levity that really helps.
"My dog Indy (a small fluffy white energy-ball) often provides that levity when he decides to assert his Napoleon complex on the biggest dogs out there.”
Launched in October 2019 by Bristol-based Rob Osman, Dudes & Dogs has already helped plenty of dudes around the UK, and has been featured by BBC news, Lorraine, ITV, LadBible, the Today programme and more. Dogs & Dudes walking groups are currently operating in Bristol, Lincolnshire, Oxfordshire, Gloucester, South Wales, Bath and Brighton.
In a video on the Dudes & Dogs website, Rob says: “The principle around it is getting a group of guys together, one who will have a dog – the Dog Dude of the group, the facilitator – and then all the guys will go out for a walk and talk.
“You can talk about the big stuff, you can talk about the small stuff, you can talk about the sport this weekend. Or you can just tag along – it’s completely up to you, and we do everything at your own pace.”
All walks are free for those who sign up, and south Bristol walks take place at Ashton Court.
For more information on how to join a walk, become a Dog Dude, donate, or check out some excellent D&D merch, visit dudesndogs.co.uk.
You can also find Dudes & Dogs on Facebook @DudesnDogs
Pictured, Charlie’s gorgeous dog, Indiana Bones