10 May 2023

Canberrans and their canine companions invited to join RSPCA ACT's Million Paws Walk

| Morgan Kenyon
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cavoodle at 2022 million paws walk

Local pooches of all colours, shapes and sizes will be out and about in force on 28 May. Photos: RSPCA ACT.

Picture this – a cosy autumn evening curled up on the couch, your pooch sleeping by your side without a care in the world.

Many of us wouldn’t consider this scene a luxury, but as the cooler months arrive, dozens of dogs will spend their mid-year evenings without a family of their own.

In 2022, more than 600 dogs turned to the RSPCA for help in the ACT alone. Nationally, the number tops 20,000.

READ ALSO RSPCA’s Pets of The Week – Charlie & Addy

This May, RSPCA ACT will once again champion responsible pet ownership at its annual Million Paws Walk.

A fabulous day out for Canberran pups and visitors alike, 2023’s walk promises wagging tails galore. For the two-legged walkers, it presents an opportunity to get together with other animal lovers and raise funds for a great cause.

beagle and golden retriever socialising

The walk is a social affair that gives dogs and their owners a chance to make new friends, get outdoors and support local businesses – all while raising money for a worthy cause.

Michelle Robertson leads RSPCA ACT. She says the Million Paws Walk helps fuel the RSPCA’s fight to keep dogs out of shelters and find loving forever homes for pups in the organisation’s care.

“Every step taken at Million Paws Walk is a step towards fewer dogs in shelters,” Michelle says.

“Most dogs who come to the RSPCA are there because they were victims of cruelty, bred for profit, or abandoned by their family.

“Of course, there will always be exceptional, sad circumstances that mean dogs are surrendered to us, but if more people practice responsible pet ownership we can bring numbers down greatly.”

RSPCA ACT is currently completely at capacity with 130 animals on the surrender waiting list, over 50 of which are dogs.

Farmhouse Pet Treats stall

Pet-centric stallholders at the walk feature a variety of goods, from treats and accessories to supplements and grooming gear.

Bringing down the number of surrendered dogs starts with proper education. If you don’t want to adopt, be sure to do your research.

“If you decide to get a dog, you must have the time to invest in adequate training and socialisation for their breed and personality,” Michelle says.

“What really worries me is that we still see a lot of people looking in places like Facebook or Gumtree to find a pet.

“If you want to purchase a dog, please, please make sure that you buy from a registered breeder, not someone who is turning out litters for profit.”

READ ALSO Why are smart people so easily duped when it comes to buying pets online?

Michelle also says it is crucial to have your pet spayed/neutered and microchipped to avoid unwanted pregnancies and help reunite you with your pet if they become lost.

All dogs and cats are spayed/neutered by the RSPCA ACT before adoption and surgery costs are included in the adoption fee.

four golden retrievers sitting for treats at 2022 million paws walk

Ava, Ella, and their friends were very well behaved at the 2022 Million Paws Walk.

Million Paws Walkers are welcome to join RSPCA ACT staff and stakeholders at Patrick White Lawns from 9 am, with the walk kicking off around 11 am.

Michelle finishes with a note on adoption. “If you are thinking about getting a dog, please consider one of the many lovable pooches we have at the RSPCA ACT,” she says.

“We have a variety of ages, personalities, and breeds- the more you talk to us about your lifestyle, the better we can make a good match. “These dogs have so much love to give and are just waiting for the right person to open their heart.”

Dogs currently available for adoption in Canberra can be viewed online via RSPCA ACT.

RSPCA ACT Million Paws Walk 2023 is set for 28 May. Riotact readers can score a 30% discount on tickets using the promo code ACTRIOT30.

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