Digital Paw-prints: RSPCA’s Million Paws Walk goes virtual

Caitlin Rumac

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Million Paws Walk: Walk this May is the digital take on Australia’s much-loved annual dog walking event and this year social distancing means animals of all shapes and sizes can take part. RSPCA WA communications manager, Richard Schoonraad says from May 17 people are encouraged to walk their pets of any shape or size every day to raise money to stop animal cruelty in WA.

The RSPCA’s biggest fundraising event of the year goes virtual in May, with pet owners urged to walk their furry friends and then post the escapades online.

Million Paws Walk: Walk this May is the digital take on Australia’s much-loved annual dog walking event and this year social distancing means animals of all shapes and sizes can take part.

RSPCA WA communications manager Richard Schoonraad says  from May 17 people are encouraged to walk their pets  everyday to raise money to stop animal cruelty in WA.

Pet owners need to register online, then log their daily exercise on the ‘pawdometer’ of their fundraising page and encourage friends and family to donate to the cause.

RSPCA WA head of fundraising Ken Doran said he looks forward to seeing pets strutting their stuff in the online Vetwest Pet Parade.

Participants can win category ‘crowns’ and pet-friendly prizes by uploading their best photos or videos of their ‘corona companion’ .

“Everyone loves sharing photos and videos of their pets – and in a time when our news feeds are overrun with COVID-19, cute animal snaps can be a welcome and heart-warming distraction,” Mr Doran said.

The Million Paws Walk raises thousands for animal protection in WA and last year the funds help fund 6000 investigations into cruelty.

Mr Schoonraad, says losing the organisation’s biggest fundraiser could have a ‘devastating effect’.

“We are hoping for the best but have planned for the worst,” Mr Schoonraad said.

The charity relies on donations and community support to generate over 90 per cent of the funds required to carry out its animal protection work and are banking on the paw-power of Australian pets to get them through these challenging times.

Mr Schoonraad has said the first five days of the virtual walk have gone really well, with lots of online engagement and is hopeful that it can be sustained for the remained of the month.