Walkathon for a four-legged cause

Swagger

According to walkathon legend, we have Diplo to thank for pounding the pavement first. In 1953, the actor/comedian walked 80 miles through San Juan, Puerto Rico, to raise money for the Puerto Rican League Against Cancer. In four days, he raised $85,000.

We’ve been walking in his footsteps ever since.

We walk to fight disease and cure disease. We walk for community development and against hunger. We walk for hope, wishes and memories. No matter what the cause, we do it to make the world a better place. Rain or shine, one leg, two or no legs at all, we find a way to make it to the finish line for what matters most. We put one foot in front of the other for the people we love.

And then there’s this little thing called the K9 Rescue Me Walkathon. But it’s not so little anymore. Now in its eighth year, the Rescue Me Walk is one of the largest fundraising events for dog rescue in North America teaming up with the largest festival for dogs in North America!

Over 300,000 dog lovers kick off the summer each year by making their way to Woofstock in the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood for a massive fun-filled two-day event. The Walkathon couldn’t be held at a better venue. There’s no way our rescue dogs could ever get lost in this dog loving crowd. They’re walking for a common cause after all, and they’ve got an endearing way of stopping traffic.

Here’s a glimpse at just a few of this year’s traffic stoppers walking on behalf of their rescuers! They’ve got paws crossed they reach their dream goal of $150,000 so their rescuers can keep on rescuing:

Estelle will be walking for Greyhounds in Need of Adoption (GiNA). Walking will be a welcomed change for this retired racer. She was a celebrated athlete in her day having run 88 races. Those days may be over but her life is far from it, thanks to GiNA. Estelle now has a successful gig as a professional sleep consultant! But she’ll take a break from the couch to add her paws to this cause.

Swagger will be swaggering on behalf of Boston Terrier Rescue Canada (BTRC). It’s hard to believe this big boy was the runt of the litter for an abandoned dog found on the streets of Montreal. He was so tiny he had to be fed with an eye dropper. After raising him from a thimble, you can hardly blame his foster parent for becoming his perma-mom.

Jorja will be strutting her cute stuff for Westies in Need. The four-year-old West Highland Terrier is a puppy mill survivor. She never knew there was anything beyond the bars of her crate. These days, she’s got an unobstructed view of a beautiful world while perched on her foster mom’s lap. But she’ll hop down long enough to walk for her fellow Westies.

Tina will be walking carefree and cone-free for Pugalug Pug Rescue. Tina had been suffering from chronic allergies for the last year, literally ripping the skin off her ears to relieve the unbearable itch. She was surrendered by a family that had given up trying to fix her. The introduction of a raw diet is working wonders for Tina. Now that she’s pitched the itch, her paws are ready for walking!

Last but not least, there’s Toto. This 11-year-old Shih Tzu mix plans to dance his way along the yellow brick road for Speaking of Dogs Rescue (SOD)! After his transformation from neglected matted mop to tangle-free, Toto discovered his happy dance! The only thing missing is a dance partner. Could you be his Dorothy?

There are many more dog rescue groups, including my own, walking alongside their four-legged inspirations on June 12th but I need to leave you with one final thought.

We all have our special causes. Not everybody shares an enthusiasm for the fur clad. Some may feel ‘people causes’ are more important. But I have proof this is a people cause in disguise. I stumbled across that proof many years ago when my beagle rescue was in its infancy. Anything worthwhile begins with baby steps.

Despite being crowned the original ‘Baddest Beagle in the Universe’, my Darwin was selected for therapy work. He visited a local nursing home, delighting the residents on a weekly basis. He reminded many of childhood pets long gone but never forgotten.

Everybody looked forward to Darwin’s visits, with the exception of one particular man. This man was in the late stages of Alzheimer’s. It was as though he was cut off from the world around him. But one day, a determined caregiver brought Darwin over to this man. She gently held out his hand to one of Darwin’s velvety ears. My proof only lasted a brief second but I’ll cherish it always. In that precious moment when his unsteady hand met Darwin’s ear, the man did something he hadn’t done for a very long time. He smiled.

Join our four-legged people cause by supporting the 8th Annual Rescue Me Walkathon 2011 at Woofstock on Sunday, June 12th! For all the fur-raising details on this furnomenal fundraiser, visit www.k9rescueme.com.


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