DOGS and their owners came from near and far to participate in this year’s RSPCA Million Paws Walk in Bendigo.
From a pair of Irish Wolfhounds from Rochester to a couple of dalmatians from Castlemaine, there was plenty to see at Lake Weeroona on Sunday morning.
Bendigo event coordinator Fiona Rooke estimated there were 600 – 700 registrations this year, “which is a little bit up on last year.”
“One registration is equivalent to care for one dog for a week,” she said.
She estimated Bendigo’s support for the walk would enable the RSPCA to provide care to 60 dogs for a year.
“It’s a small contribution for Bendigo but it’s actually huge for 60 dogs,” Fiona said.
Bendigo’s walk is one of the state’s biggest, and Ms Rooke said support for the initiative was growing each year.
Many of the dogs and owners encountered by the Bendigo Advertiser were participating for the first time, or embarking on their first walk in Bendigo.
Jayde Proctor, four-year-old Mackenzie Proctor-Evans and their two-year-old akita Roku were among the newcomers.
They had been involved in the RSPCA Million Paws Walk in Tasmania previously, but moved to Bendigo last year.
“It’s our first walk in Bendigo,” Jayde said.
A lack of RSPCA presence in Castlemaine saw Tricia and Julia Soldatos and dalmatians Peppa and Soulty come to Bendigo for the walk.
“It’s a good social event,” Tricia said.
Matt Moss’s Irish Wolfhounds Pooh and Bear were among the larger dogs at this year’s event.
They came from Rochester to support the campaign.
“It’s our outing for the day,” Matt said.
Karen Adamson brought her dog Max along in support of the RSPCA.
“I’ve got another dog that’s an RSPCA puppy,” she said.
A litter of six-week-old Jack Russell puppies arguably stole the show by cuddling whomever dropped to their level – dog or human.
Little Mackie, Jackie, Yoda, Stewart, Princess, Lottie and Tommy – and their owners Belinda and Phoebe Martin – hailed from California Gully.
Belinda said it had been about 10 years since she had done the Million Paws Walk.
She was excited to be back, and said the event was an opportunity for the puppies to socialise.
There were a number of vets at this year’s event, in addition to the many dogs and their owners
Fiona said the presence of the vets was one of the event’s drawcards.
“We have a lot of vets that are offering free and discounted services,” she said.
Passionate Vetcare was offering free dental checks for dogs.
“A lot of their teeth have been quite good, the ones we’ve looked at,” Dr Kellie Anset said.
“Then we go into how to prevent those teeth from getting worse over time.
“Teeth brushing is the gold standard, to try to do that every day. But a lot of owners can’t do that.”
She said there were a range of other options available, from chews to dental diets.
“It’s really important for their health overall to keep their teeth clean,” the veterinarian said.
“A lot of [dog owners] know they should probably give them something to chew on but they’re not aware of, probably, the effects of if they’re not keeping their dog’s teeth clean…
“It does have effects on their heart and kidneys”.