Joanne Burns is the founder of Walk This Way, a dog walking service in Fermanagh. Here she tells The Impartial Reporter what she loves about dogs, her favourite breed and why she believes it is so important for dogs to be walked daily.

Why do you love dogs so much?

Dogs have a way of living that is wholehearted and joyful. They are so open, loving, loyal and trusting and they have an amazing capacity to forgive our mistakes. On another level, they are a great way of connecting with people that you would never normally meet in everyday life. I have made some great friends, from all age groups through our love of dogs.

What breeds of dog do you walk?

I'm collecting all sorts of breeds! Retrievers, Spaniels, Whippets, Staffies, Dalmatian, various Terrier breeds, Collies, Labradors, Pugs, Schnauzers and the list goes on! They are all very different and have their own unique personalities and breed traits. The Retrievers and Labradors will find a way of having a mud baths, the Spaniels are mischief makers, the Terriers and Pugs are foodies and don't stray too far in case they miss out on a treat! Super smart Collies, speedy Whippets and Dalmatians, I could go on! They are all wonderful and it's fantastic to spend time with each of them.

What is your favourite type of dog and why?

Well this is more of a personal story, rather than being linked to a specific breed. My Rough Collie Rayah is extremely special to our family. We got her as a puppy and at a time when one of my nephews was around three years old. At this time Jacob had yet to speak, in the years to come we would learn he was on the autistic spectrum. He couldn't speak to us but he started to speak to her. We would hear him telling her to sit and that she was a good girl and she would do everything he asked. She loves him and they were inseparable. He found his voice through his connection with her and then some! He is a little chatterbox now and speaking about her and our other dogs gave him a common ground to speak from when he went to mainstream school. He talks to his classmates and teachers about the dogs and they have given him a way to connect with them. So we feel very protective of Rayah as she gave us the gift of hearing Jacob's voice.

Why is it so important to make sure a dog gets a daily walk?

It's a combination of both physical and mental stimulation. A daily walk provides both of those things, without it you could find an increase in problem behaviours, such as barking or destructive behaviours. I think researching the breed of dog before you bring them into your home is important in having an insight into what their needs will be and the potential problems of not getting enough exercise.

Walking is important for maintaining a good weight and general health (and not just for dogs!) but also they experience so much of the world through their noses. They have an amazing sense of smell and getting to go out and about, experiencing different environments stimulates their brain also so you get not just a tired dog but a content one too.

Where are your favourite places in Fermanagh to walk the dogs and why?

I like to keep my walking routes as secret as possible! We like remote and interesting! We visited Big Dog last weekend and the dogs and humans had a blast. Such a stunning place. Views for miles and great swimming spots for the dogs. My girls loved it and were worn out after. I think it will be a new favourite!

Any funny stories from your walks?

Every eventful story I have involves one crazy, cute little Cocker Spaniel called Bailey. He is a dog houdini and can open seatbelts and escape harnesses. He was able to release the handbrake on my car on a hill, we disturbed a wasps nest in a rabbit burrow together and got chased by angry wasps and he was part of a plot that saw me fall into a lake after a ball launcher, that he and some naughty retrievers stole and threw in. There is never a dull moment and he is just so much fun, very much loved by me and the other dogs. Loveable class clown!

Do you own a dog yourself?

Yes there are three dogs at home. Two are mine and I part own Luna with my sister. Rayah is a rough collie and is four years old. She is a beautiful, sensitive soul and challenges me every day to think outside the box. Luna is a Springer/Setter cross and lives life at full speed, very loving and eager to please. Then we have Star. To be fair I part own her with my Nephew Jacob. He wanted a little black dog, with a bit of white, called Star. So along she came. She is a little Patterdale terrier cross, he visits her everyday and they love each other. She loves her cuddles and is so gentle and eager to please. They are all best friends!