After a 22-year absence, RSPCA South Australia’s iconic Million Paws Walk is returning to the site where it began – the Victoria Park Racecourse in Adelaide’s east parklands.
The popular event is RSPCA’s most important event of the year, raising funds to help save animals in need.
Million Paws Walk will take place nationally and simultaneously in 10 locations around the State on Sunday May 19.
The Adelaide event attracted about 5,000 people and their dogs last year, and organisers anticipate the new location will draw an even bigger crowd. RSPCA South Australia event organiser Kate Jones laughingly described the move as “a pre-emptive strike to avoid the seven-year itch”.
“For the past six years, we’ve all gathered at Bonython Park on the city’s western fringe and enjoyed a leisurely riverside stroll with our dogs near the weir.
“Before moving to Bonython Park in 2013, the Walk had seven years further up the Torrens River, at Elder Park.
“So we feel it’s a good time to relocate again, before the seven-year itch has a chance to kick in.
“And when we considered possible locations, Victoria Park shone as the clear winner because it’s a prominent landmark with easy access and a long-held reputation as one of our city’s most treasured open spaces for dog-walking.”
Participants will have the choice of walking the 2km or 4km circuit.
A team of expert dog trainers will be on-hand to offer advice and information about classes at RSPCA South Australia’s new dog training school, which began operating this month.
Local musicians and singers will provide entertainment throughout the day, and there will be stalls selling a range of canine and human merchandise and humane-choice food and drinks. Fundraisers who raise over $500 will be invited to the VIP Million Paws Club and treated to a gourmet breakfast cooked by a surprise celebrity chef.
This year, for the first time, a limited number of tickets will be available to purchase on the day for anyone who would like to enjoy a delicious brunch with their furry friend.
In another first for the Adelaide MPW, participants will also have opportunity to sample a selection of local wines and beers and relax in a comfortable, dog-friendly space after the walk.
“Sundays are traditionally days for people to unwind ahead of the working week, and this year we are going all out to make our Million Paws Walk not just a great outing for the dogs but also for their owners,” Ms Jones said.
“Every year about 9000 abandoned, injured, sick and abused animals need care from RSPCA staff and volunteers in South Australia.
“This vital work is wholly dependent on donations, so we encourage our community to come along, have a wonderful, relaxing time and do some fundraising to help all these beautiful animals to have a second chance in life.”
Apart from the Adelaide event, RSPCA South Australia will also stage Million Paws Walks in nine regional centres – Port Lincoln, Port Augusta, Whyalla, Port Pirie, Berri, Mount Barker, Murray Bridge, Victor Harbor and Wallaroo.
Million Paws Walk tickets are on sale from today, with early birds who purchase before the end of February securing RSPCA’s Barking Mad 50% discount offer. Tickets can be purchased at: www.millionpawswalk.com.au