community

Former Mr Gay Europe is helping man’s best friend and Age UK during lockdown

Matt Rood is volunteering his services to Age UK while his dog-walking business is shut down.

2020-04-29

If you live in Brighton, you have probably seen Matt Rood’s vans around town; they are hard to miss because they have a huge cartoon depiction of the 2017’s Mr Gay Europe on the side of them.

Now with his Mr Gay Europe sash hanging in the closet, Matt and his team at ROODDOG use the vans to pick up dozens of dogs every day for walkies.

“I started the business on my own back in 2017, a couple of months before I won Mr Gay Europe", Matt tells Attitude.

"It has now progressed so I have other dog walkers working with me and we will walk about 200 dogs a week over Devil’s Dyke in Brighton."

“I had to close the business down the day after the Covid19 lockdown started in the UK. So we are not walking any dogs until the lockdown is lifted.”

While business life is on pause, Matt told us he was happy to get a call from the CEO of the Age UK Brighton and Hove charity asking if he would be interested in volunteer dog walking.

“I jumped at the chance to be buddied up with Chris who has cancer, bless him, and can’t leave his flat. So I do his shopping for him and take his dog, Tyson, for walks every day.

"And Age UK are looking for help across the UK, even if it is just picking up the phone and having a chat with someone to give them some company.”

Thankfully, Tyson isn’t the only dog in Matt’s life. He may not have a human quarantine buddy, but has his two Hungarian Vizsla’s Hugo and Lulu giving him an excuse to get out for his daily exercise.

He also expressed how important it is to keep your dog’s mind active, “If you look at my Instagram you can find some IGTV videos of different enrichment activities teaching simple tricks just to keep their minds active.

"It is important to hit your doggie’s exercise needs, but it is equally important to test their mental ability as well.

"And that’s actually what will tire your dog out probably far more than just a walk."

You can follow Matt Rood at rooddog.com. If you are able to volunteer please contact ageuk.org.uk