Paws helping a cause
VET Andrew Hemming will be one of hundreds of Ipswich dog owners to show their support for the work of the RSPCA this Sunday.
The Million Paws Walk is the RSPCA Queensland's biggest fundraising event of the year, and you wouldn't doubt it once you see the proud dog owners that make the annual trek through Limestone Park on a chilly Sunday morning in May.
Mr Hemming, who is preparing to open his own practice in Flinders View this year, will be accompanied by his best pal - 13-year-old border collie, Sally - as well as workmates Gail Hulse and dog Kyah, and Mat Owens.
"The RSPCA does extremely well with all their work and this event helps build knowledge and awareness of the important role they play," Mr Hemming said.
"The new centre at Wacol is like a palace for pets - they do great things there.
"It's also a great social day for dog owners - anything that gets people out there socialising is great."
With the help of its massive new headquarters at Wacol, the RSPCA cares for more than 18,000 dogs at its animal care centres each year. The dogs often need to be desexed and vaccinated before they can be put on the road to finding a new home.
As a result, the organisation's yearly costs reach the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
"My dad is an RSPCA ambulance driver and basically zooms around picking up stray animals," Mr Hemming said.
"Luckily in my job I don't see too many mistreated animals."
Ipswich's Million Paws Walk has been growing in popularity, with 400 people signing up last year.
Organisers have already received 300 online registrations for this year's event, with another few hundred expected to sign up at the last minute.
Those wishing to take part can register at Limestone Park from 8am to 8.45am this Sunday, with the walk starting at 9am.
Each year, the RSPCA spends $360,000 on vaccination, $270,000 on heartworm treatment and $216,000 on food and shelter for dogs in its care.