What happens when you put dogs and cake together? Well, my fellow dog owners can probably imagine, but these photographs, released by The Big Lunch team to promote their one-day get-together annual event, are guaranteed to make you smile.
These hilarious dogs were photographed as the ‘London Big Lunchers’ gathered at Tanner Street Park, Bermondsey, with their dogs for a little dog training session to prepare for the big day on Sunday 12th June this year.
Launched in 2009 by the Eden Project, the aim of The Big Lunch event is to encourage a get-together feeding community spirit and helping to build stronger neighbourhoods with the thinking that by bringing communities together, we can reducing loneliness and isolation.
Alongside the photographs, The Big Lunch team have looked at the effect having a dog has on making new friends in the community and have revealed that a study of 2,000 people looked at the positive social impacts of owning a dog compared with not having one, and over half (55%) admitted they are more likely to start a conversation with someone if they have a dog.
While the average dog owner has six chats a week – 312 a year, with people in the community, as a result of their canine companion, results showed dogs make you more approachable than children it seems – with three in 10 people more likely to start a conversation with someone with a dog than someone with children.
The research also showed the typical dog owner has at least three friends that originated directly from them having their pet.
The results make a valuable argument for the impact owning a dog can have on a person’s social interactions – (75%) say having a dog reduces feelings of loneliness and more than half (52%) say that having a dog improves relationships in the community and that getting a dog is one of the best ways to make friends with neighbours.
Oxford University Professor of Psychology, Robin Dunbar, who worked with The Big Lunch as part of the campaign, spoke about the findings: “Research has shown that owning a dog is a good way of combatting loneliness, both because of the company that such a pet can provide, but also because of the way that other people react to dogs and their owners.
Dunbar continued, “The majority of people (52%) said that having a dog improves relationships in your community, and 71 per cent said that people out on the street are more likely to stop and talk to you if you are walking a dog. This is because when we see someone with a friendly animal, we feel safe with them and feel that they will be happy for us to stop and talk.”
And sometimes the dogs are even more memorable than the owners – four in ten Brits know the names of certain dogs but do not know their owners by name, results showed.
Peter Stewart of The Big Lunch added: “While two thirds of us have never shared a meal with our neighbours, we are more likely to strike up conversation with those with dogs. Hosting or joining a Big Lunch on June 12th is a great way to make new friends, share stories, to have fun, whether you have a canine friend or not – it offers a simple way to make lasting relationships and most Big Lunches are also dog-friendly.”
Find out more about how you can get involved in The Big Lunch event this June online at www.thebiglunch.com
Have these dogs inspired you to get a dog?
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