16 May 2024

Canberra's biggest dog walk turns 30

| Morgan Kenyon
dog sitting on grass

2024 marks three decades since the first RSPCA Million Paws Walk. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

On a sunny October weekend almost 30 years ago, hundreds of passionate pet owners gathered in one of Brisbane’s oldest parks to raise money for their local RSPCA.

What began as a rather low-key event is now the charity’s flagship fundraiser, attracting thousands of walkers each year in every state and territory across Australia. Since the RSPCA Million Paws Walk began, more than 750,000 animal lovers have laced up their sneakers and walked to make a difference.

This year the walk turns 30 and will follow a superhero theme to celebrate welfare heroes who have supported its efforts from the very beginning.

READ ALSO Kids called on to join new animal welfare program from RSPCA ACT

Registration opens at 9 am sharp with the walk starting about 11 am. Everyone is invited to stick around until 2 pm to socialise and enjoy local food, live music, retail stalls, prizes and more.

CEO of RSPCA ACT, Michelle Robertson is beyond proud that the walk has become such a staple on Canberra’s event calendar.

“The funds and connections brought about by our Million Paws Walk each year are absolutely priceless,” she says.

“It’s a chance to come together and raise awareness in a fun, light-hearted way about a really serious issue. Whether they have a dog to bring with them or not, our walkers are animal lovers and very connected to our cause.

“We walk for a reason. It’s all about standing in solidarity with likeminded people and saying animal cruelty is never okay.”

Dog on lead

Every step taken at Million Paws Walk is a step towards fewer pets in local shelters. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

The event generates crucial funds to support outreach and education programs, which promote responsible pet ownership and help stop animal cruelty at its source.

Money raised also goes towards operational costs for long-stay animals, high-care animals and those with special needs. This includes dogs and cats, but also rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, poultry, sheep, reptiles, and more.

READ ALSO Thousands of new native fish a win for Murrumbidgee waters

“We’ve even had yabbies at our shelter,” Michelle says.

“No matter their species, they’ve likely experienced some kind of trauma before coming to us. The path to healing is a complex one, and often involves a lot of medical care, enrichment and retraining before we can even consider looking for a new home.

“As you can imagine, getting them the individual care they need is very costly, but seeing a broken animal start to enjoy life again makes the process so worth it. That’s why we do what we do – that’s why we’re walking this May and invite all of Canberra to join us.”

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

Be a hero for animals in need – get involved in the 2024 Million Paws Walk on Sunday, 26 May. Registration opens at 9 am at Patrick White Lawns, Queen Elizabeth Terrace, Parkes.

Original Article published by Morgan Kenyon on Riotact.

Weekly Wrap

Canberra is renowned for its restaurants, bars, arts and culture. If you want to know what's going on in and around the nation's capital, sign up for our weekly newsletter and have all the best of the Canberra community delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.