After a pause, the paws are back!
RSPCA’s main fundraiser of the year – Million Paws Walk – is back due to popular demand, after the Covid-19 pandemic forced its cancellation last year.
The Walk will take place in Adelaide and in two regional centres – Wallaroo and Port Pirie – on Sunday May 16.
South Australia and the Northern Territory are the only states and territories staging physical walks this year, with the rest of Australia holding virtual-only challenges. This nationwide event raises much-needed funds to support the charity’s animal rescue, care and rehoming work.
The event’s return in 2019 to the East Parklands proved a winner, making it the obvious choice for 2021 too. The popular dog-walking area is where the very first Million Paws Walk took place 24 years ago.
Event organiser Sophia Hynes-Bishop said a lot of extra planning had gone into this year’s event to ensure it’s fun and safe for everyone.
“We’re all very proud to be hosting this in-person walk this year, offering such an enjoyable way for people and their pooches to spend some quality time together,” Ms Hynes-Bishop said.
“We’re following SA Health’s latest advice to ensure everyone stays safe, and among the changes will be staggered start times for walkers to allow for social distancing, an increased cleaning schedule, QR code check-ins and capacity regulations.
“One of the few positives to come out of these difficult times is that last year more people than usual adopted a new furry family member from our shelters, and hopefully we’ll see some of them on May 16.”
At this time last year, adoptions were soaring following RSPCA South Australia’s call for community help amidst increasing Covid-19 restrictions. Over the two months of March and April 2020, 1,275 animals were adopted compared to 716 for the same period in 2019. (Last financial year, RSPCA South Australia set a new adoption record with 5,085 animals finding new homes.)
“There’s no doubt that the companionship of dogs has helped many of us cope with the challenges of life during a pandemic,” Ms Hynes-Bishop said.
“Coming together for our Million Paws Walk in May is a way to celebrate the joy these beautiful animals bring to our lives, while raising funds for less fortunate animals.”
For those unable to attend one of the three physical walks happening in SA, Walk This May is the virtual challenge component of Million Paws Walk. Dog lovers from all over Australia will unite to raise funds to fight animal cruelty by walking a minimum of 30 minutes a day with their four-legged friends.
“Here in South Australia, we have the best of both worlds – you can hit the pavement throughout May and track your steps to raise money, plus you can come along to a fun community day out,” Ms Hynes-Bishop said, adding that there are generous incentives for meeting fundraising targets.