Former shelter dog Bear gets in the spirit of this year’s Million Paws Walk: Walk This May event, which will raise funds and awareness for the RSPCA ACT.
Former shelter dog Bear gets in the spirit of this year’s Million Paws Walk: Walk This May event, which will raise funds and awareness for the RSPCA ACT. Photo: Kerrie Brewer.

Supporters of the RSPCA Million Paws Walk still have the opportunity to grab a leash and fundraise for a purpose with this year’s event going virtual in response to government restrictions on public gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event has evolved into Million Paws Walk: Walk This May, which encourages participants to simply walk their furry friend 30 minutes a day this May, in their backyards or neighbourhoods.

Participants can make a donation or fundraise in the lead up to and during May. Money raised from online fundraising and merchandise sales will be used to support the RSPCA’s work within the community.

RSPCA ACT CEO Michelle Robertson said they don’t know what to expect from this year’s event but acknowledged its importance towards funding the shelter’s operations.

“Fundraising is so important for us,” she said. “If you look at our revenue, 60-70% comes from donations and fundraising. We genuinely rely on the generosity of the community.”

The restructure of the event means the animal welfare organisation will miss out on funds that typically come from ticket sales. This year, they had already sold 1,391 tickets.

Those who have pre-purchased tickets are being given an opportunity to have their ticket cost transferred to a donation; however, people can also ask for a refund.

Ms Robertson encouraged the community to continue to be involved in this year’s new-look event as it still provides an opportunity to feel good and do good.

“People will see the benefits,” she said. “Even if it’s just going out and going for a walk you feel better, you clear your head, and you’re getting exercise. If you do that every day of the month, it will provide a whole lot of good. It’s not just about the issue [prevention of animal cruelty].”

And to encourage a community feel, RSPCA encourages participants to share photos of their dogs and walks on social media using the hashtags #MillionPawsWalk and #MPWDOGSQUAD.

The Million Paws Walk: Walk This May is free to participate in. To sign up, purchase merchandise and start fundraising, visit millionpawswalk.com.au

The RSPCA ACT shelter is still open, however they have implemented a booking system for adoption appointments.

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