Paws for the cause

Launch of the RSPCA Million Paws Illawarra Walk at Lake Illawarra. Bob Johnston with Max the puppy. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

Launch of the RSPCA Million Paws Illawarra Walk at Lake Illawarra. Bob Johnston with Max the puppy. Picture: ANDY ZAKELI

THE RSPCA is encouraging dog owners and animal lovers to get involved in this year's Million Paws Walk.

Held nationwide, the annual event is the RSPCA's biggest fund-raiser of the year, with the organisation hoping to see a million dog paws pound the pavement across Australia.

The Illawarra branch of the RSPCA will host its walk on the foreshore of Lake Illawarra, and this year hopes to raise more than $10,000 to support the RSPCA's Safe Beds for Pets program.

"Each year the walk supports a different program of the RSPCA's and this year's is the Safe Beds for Pets program, which is an initiative where we give temporary care to the pets of people who have suffered domestic violence," RSPCA Illawarra branch president Ann Dewson said.

"It can be hard for victims of domestic violence to leave their situation, and if they have a pet they care about that can be another thing that makes it harder for them to leave, so the program aims to give them peace of mind that their pet will be looked after till they get back on their feet."

While the Million Paws Walk is an important fund-raiser, it's also a fun day for the whole family.

"Each year that we've held the walk it's got bigger and bigger," Mrs Dewson said. "We're getting between 1600 to 2000 people each year and around 650 dogs and hopefully we'll top that this year.

"It's a really great day.

'We've got a great location and we have stalls, entertainment, face-painting for the kids and all the types of things to make it a really great family day."

The walk will be held on the Lake Illawarra foreshore at the corner of Reddall Parade and Entrance Street on Sunday from 10am-1.30pm.

Registration can be done at millionpawswalk.com.au or cash registrations will be taken on the day from 9am.

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