Resident Hannah Capon has started an education campaign on how to manage canine arthritis, an affliction that she says affects about 1.2 million dogs in the UK – including her beloved 14-year-old collie, Holly.
According to Hannah, about 80 per cent of all dogs over the age of eight suffer from the disease.
It is likely to be the most common reason owners decided to put their pets to sleep, she said.
But Hannah believes that simple effective management of the disease is possible, with some simple adaptions to lifestyle, diet and owner attitude.
She said: “The sad truth is that an arthritic dog will have been in pain for months if not years and coping undetected.
“I want to improve awareness of the pervasiveness of arthritis.
“By changing perception of how dogs show signs of pain, we can identify the disease much earlier, act sooner, and extend the life and the quality of that life.”
To kickstart her campaign, Hannah is taking on an ambitious 100-mile fundraising trek along the South Downs with pet Holly.
The pair will camp at night and walk for eight straight days from Saturday, September 9.
A purpose-built hand cart will carry all their equipment and can be used to carry Holly too, if the pet needs to rest.
Hannah said the challenge would be ‘a huge adventure’ for them both.
She said: “It’s a very popular route with dog walkers and I hope to come in to contact with many people and share our story.”
To find out more, visit www.caninearthritis.co.uk
Watch a short video about canine arthritis which accompanies the campaign – filmed in Shoreham by George Ravenscroft – here: vimeo.com/212755962