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Adelaide Botanic Garden welcomes dogs for the 30th Anniversary of RSPCA’s Million Paws Walk

Adelaide Botanic Garden opens its gates for the RSPCA’s 30th Million Paws Walk, an annual fundraising event for animal welfare. Join stars like AFLW’s Chelsea Randall in a day filled with nature, companionship, and charity to support animals in need.

On Sunday, 26 May, Adelaide Botanic Garden will bend its ‘no dogs’ policy, and open its gates to RSPCA’s Million Paws Walk.  This will be a unique opportunity for pooches and their owners to experience the gardens together, as they get behind the RSPCA’s primary annual fundraiser for the state’s leading animal welfare organisation.

RSPCA’s Million Paws Walk co-aligns with Botanic Gardens Day, a celebration in Australia and New Zealand acknowledging the role botanical gardens play in conserving plants for future generations.

For those wanting to attend, the event offers two alternatives, a 2.3km walk or a 3.5km walk, with several start times. A Million Paws Walk village will be set up opposite the garden in the Botanic Park, providing food, drinks and pet-related services and merchandise.

The funds raised will aid the approximately 700 animals currently under RSPCA SA’s care. These animals are housed in the Lonsdale shelter, the oldest RSPCA shelter in Australia. Looking ahead, in five weeks, the RSPCA will relocate to new, purpose-built facilities in Glenthorne National Park at O’Halloran Hill. This move will be a first for RSPCA in SA as the entire organisation will be located on one site.

CEO of RSPCA SA, Mr Marcus Gehrig, shared his excitement recalling how the inaugural walk in 1994, initially proposed by RSPCA Queensland vet Dr Cam Day, kick-started RSPCA’s influential Million Paws Walk initiative in South Australia three years later.

“It’s the third year that the Botanic Garden authorities have given us the green light, and this year is particularly special as it’s now 30 years since the very first Million Paws Walk was held,” Mr Gehrig said.

“We’re extremely grateful to again have our walk in the Botanic Garden amidst the autumn colours.”

Michael Harvey, Director of the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium, stated they were thrilled to host the 30th anniversary of the event. Harvey aims to encourage participants and their dogs to connect with nature and explore the Botanic Garden.

“We look forward to participants exploring the garden with their beloved companions on this one day of the year that we open the gates to Adelaide’s dogs,” Mr Harvey said.

“As participants make their way through the garden, our aim is for them is to connect with nature, bond with their dogs, and discover the various attractions the garden has to offer.”

Mr Gehrig emphasised the crucial period they are currently facing due to the challenging economic conditions and the rental market. He said these challenges were affecting people’ ability to keep their pets, increasing the demand for rescue and care services. Therefore, more than ever, they need community support, especially through events like the Million Paws Walk.

Previous AFLW player and former captain Chelsea Randall are among this year’s participants. Randall, an animal lover and RSPCA SA ambassador, will be accompanied by her dogs Koda and Lenny. The walk will also involve Chelsea’s fiancée and former AFLW player, Marijana Rajčić, and their four-month-old son, Tomi.

Dog owners are expected to ensure their pets are well-behaved as the institution grants access to the scenic city sanctuary.

For registration and fundraising page set-up, the public is advised to visit: https://www.millionpawswalk.com.au/adelaide.

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