THEY are inspiring thousands of people in Southampton to raise money for charity.

The city’s dogs are demonstrating to everyone how they can get involved in the Sainsbury’s Sport Relief games by showing off their swimming skills.

With just days until Sport Relief takes place in Hampshire it is man’s best friend who is providing an inspiration to people thinking about taking part in one of the many swims that make up the event this weekend.

Doggy Paddle, the swimming pool for dogs in Bursledon, provides facilities to help keep canines at their peak level of fitness and also gives hydrotherapy treatments.

Much like humans, swimming gives a complete body workout and can be vital to dogs with injuries and illness.

For conditions such as osteoarthritis and hip-dysplasia it provides weightless exercise to improve joint movement, increase circulation and build supporting muscle.

Border collie Reef, a dachshund called Fudge and Darcey the Dalmatian swam laps to encourage humans to take the dive too, and encourage people to raise money for local charities.

“It was great fun to get some of my regular dogs involved with Sport Relief,” the owner of Doggy Paddle, Lynn Sheridan, said.

“It is a great cause, helping people here in Southampton and across the world. I hope this weekend is a huge success and as many people follow my dogs’ example and dive in.”

Swimming is, of course, a hugely beneficial workout for humans too, it can reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes and can boost your mood and keep weight under control.

While you can’t take your pooch to the pool, there are many swims on offer in the local area. You can pace yourself over 1.5km, 2.5km or 5km, whether it’s front crawl, backstroke or breaststroke, you will get a medal for crossing the finish line.

Alternatively, there are runs and bicycle rides to sign up for. To find out more, visit