Shop at for 100% Natural, Raw Pet Food

Shake Up Your Dog Walks with a Walkathon #BarkForLife

Bark For Life 2012 June 2nd

To learn more about Bark for Life / Relay for Life – Click Here

Why Join A Walkathon? 

Look around.  I bet that you have something you feel strongly about.  If you are reading this blog, I imagine you have furbabies and that you probably feel strongly about: rescues, a particular breed, the humane society, perhaps even a service animal organization.  Well, guess what?  They need money and they probably have an annual fundraising walkathon that helps them bring in the operating cash that they need to stay alive.

Importance Of Joining a Walkathon

I don’t know if walkathons were ever child’s play, but I do know that today, they are major fundraising events that may be the cornerstone of the group’s entire year’s budget. Southeastern Guide Dog’s 2013 Walkathons (there were three held in March) brought in over $500,000!

Before you poo-poo the idea as too much work, no fun.  Why should I do that all by myself?  Let me let you in on a little secret: You don’t have to do it by yourself!  That’s the key. Here are some tips to make participating in a walkathon with your furbaby fun and exciting.

Ways to make the Walkathon more fun


Get a Group Together:  It’s more fun if you do it with friends!  Plus, if your furbabies like each other, so much the better!

Set Fundraising Goals: If the organization doesn’t ask you to set a goal for yourself or your team, make sure you set one for your team.  Then, as you reach certain milestones, celebrate and give yourselves some some small rewards: coffee out as a group, dinner together at someone’s house, etc. How about the really important goal of everyone getting a Kong?

Team T-shirts: This is a must have!  Nothing says we have conquered this fundraising goal like a team t-shirt.

Destination: Make a plan on where and when you will meet that morning of the walkathon.  Make sure everyone has each other’s cell phone numbers.  Walkathons are chaotic and nothing is more annoying than being there at the start and not knowing where your group is.

Pick an Alpha Dog: Pick a group leader who will handle all your registration.  It would be nice to have a second in command to go with that person to collect all the swag as well (t-shirts, water bottles, etc.).  Make sure you bring a big backpack to carry it in or have the alpha dog come early and then run the swag to someone’s car so you don’t have to carry it around all day!


Breakfast and Pit Stops: Make sure that you and your furbaby have had plenty to eat and drink and had an opportunity to potty.  I would suggest the group find a breakfast place that lets you eat outside with your furbabies so you can start the fun at breakfast!  But, that might not be possible depending on the time of year, location or temperament of your pups.

Water and Water: Bring water for you and for your furbaby.  Make sure you have a collapsible bowl or some other device for them to drink out of.  If you are at a dog friendly walkathon, they will probably have water in strategic places, but why take the chance if they don’t?

Pay Attention: What is the weather like?  

Hot?  Watch for signs that you pup may need to rest or may need to be pulled out of the walkathon altogether.  Last year, our guide dog pup Jam would get overexcited and his little engine would rev up.  So about 1/4 of the way into the walkathon, he threw up.  Game over for us.  We sat down on the grass and and waved to everyone as they walked by.  People we knew would stop and say hello and chat a bit and then walk off.  After about 45 minutes of resting we crossed over to the finish line and “finshed” the walkathon.  That’s what Jam could do at that time.  Know your dog’s limits and be prepared to stop.

Cold? Maybe your pup needs a sweater? Or perhaps he has tender feet and needs those special booties.  Only you know what your baby needs.  If it is too cold your teacup chihuahua, perhaps the best call is for him to stay home.

Bottom Line: Keep an eye on the weather in case you need to do something special for your pup.

Pay Attention: Where’s Your Dog?  

Keep Your Dog within a Two Foot Radius:  You hear it all the time, the danger is not going to come from you or your friends.  It is going to come from a stranger and their misbehaving dog.  If you make sure that your baby is within the zone, you can scoop them up or snatch them out of harm very quickly.  You will also be able to quickly see if something is coming up on them.  It may mean the occasional trip up, but better that than a bite or worse from some aggressive passing dog.

Make Plans to Meet for Lunch After:  If you weren’t able to meet for breakfast, perhaps, meeting for lunch will work out better.  At our Southeastern walkathon there is always a big group that meets for lunch later. It has grown to about 35 strong now!

Take Lots of Photos:  Capture the memories!  This walkathon should be a fun event.  You’ve done something worthwhile.  You and your friends have raised money for a great organization and now you are out exercising with your furbabies for a cause you believe in.  And you all have matching t-shirts.

Did I mention how fabulous you look?  Well done!


~ Cheryl Mclean, The McLean Puppy Chronicles


  1. Kimberly, thanks for posting about this – we hadn’t heard of it, but it sure seems something right up Slimdoggy’s alley. We will have to get involved and see how we can contribute!

    • I would love to do this with our dogs. I would have to have a friend help, because our pack is boisturous, but they would love everyone moment :)

    • It is a lot of fun and the benefit is you are helping a group that you love!

      Cheryl and Coach!

  2. What a nice post full of good tips for anyone participating in a walkathon. I completely agree that having a group together makes the event very fun and enjoyable for the humans and the pets :)

    • When I walked with friends, it was so much better than walking alone and plus we had so many training opportunities – so I agree with you (and Cheryl).

      • We did a group from work. Well, actually school. So I had some students and some faculty walking together and then we all had lunch together. It was great. You might even want to practice walking as a group to make sure the dogs are used to each other when the walkathon rolls around.

        Cheryl and Coach!

  3. Giz and I were at the local SPCA dog walk this past Saturday…The annual walk raised $130,000 last year and they were hoping to do even better this year…From the size of the turnout I wouldn’t be surprised…This amount of money does wonderful things for homeless dogs and cats

    • WOW! That is amazing! How do you raise the money? Are you getting people to sponsor walkers? That’s so cool!!!

      • There’s a $25.00 entry fee, but folks form teams and then get sponsorships…Local businesses form teams too…And then some businesses just pay to participate…like Subaru was there with their “dog-friendly” vehicles (the ones they were promoting back during the Super Bowl

        • Very cool! I always wondered how these events made money. I think it’s so amazing.

          • Congratulations! Both on walking and on raising so much money for your SPCA!! That is outstanding!

            Cheryl and Coach

  4. I didn’t know Dogs were allowed to participate in walk-a-thons. Good to know.

    • Pretty cool right? I probably depends on the event, but I do know that locally, I always see several people with dogs.

    • It does depend on the group, but in general, if it is a group like the SPCA, or Humance Society or any animal welfare group, they will generally allow people to walk with their pets. In addition, they are usually very pet friendly in terms of having buckets of water out, etc. it depends on how organized they are. I would always make sure to bring enough for you dog, just in case, though!

      Cheryl and Coach


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>