Big Walkies is getting even BIGGER – are you part of our mutt-ley crew yet?

There are just a few days to go until BIG Walkies comes to Cardiff’s Bute Park.

This year the RSPCA is joining paws with health and life insurers Vitality – and this Sunday (15 May) we are asking you and your dog to join us in the fresh air to stretch your legs and raise money to help our less fortunate dog pals to find their forever homes.

Dogs and their owners will take part in either a 2.5k or a 4k sponsored walk around Bute Park to raise money to help dogs and other animals in RSPCA care. On the day registration opens at 10.30am and the walk opens at 11am. The event village closes at 3pm.

To register visit www.rspca.org.uk/dogwalk and sign your dog up today or you can sign up on the day.

The event will also give you a chance to meet some of the rescue dogs that are currently in RSPCA care that are looking for their forever homes.

One of them will be the wonderful Ralph who is currently at RSPCA’s Newport Animal Centre and is looking for his forever home.

Ralph pic2Ralph is only two years old but he has had five different homes already. He has one blue and one brown eye and is deaf – but he doesn’t let that get in his way. The centre have been training him on hand signals and he picking it up really well.

Animal centre manager Debbie Caffull said: “Ralph absolutely loves going out for walks – he would stay out all day if he could! So we know he is going be having the time of his life at Big Walkies.

“Ralph, who is a crossbreed, has had five homes before. It wasn’t picked up that the poor boy was actually deaf. When he first came into our care you could tell something was not right, by the way he was responding to things, so we got him checked by a vet who confirmed he was deaf.

“He is such a lovely boy and is so striking with his one blue and one brown eye. We just hope we find a loving and forever home for him soon!”

Luga from RSPCA’s Newport Animal Centre will also be paying a visit to Bute Park for the event.

Aged five, Luga is a loving and friendly crossbreed who loves nothing more than to run around with his toys. Luga pic2

Debbie said: “Luga enjoys a fuss, so he will be in his element at Big Walkies. We know he will love meeting the other dogs there and we’re sure he will make a friend or two!”

Animal lovers without dogs can also take part or volunteer at the events. If you normally walk with lots of doggy pals this year you can also set up a team and enjoy the walk together.

Breakfast DJ for Capital FM Matt Lissack, who is attending the event, said: “Big Walkies sounds like an amazing day out and I can’t wait to be there.

“It will be lovely to see so many dogs and their owners enjoying themselves, while also raising vital funds for the RSPCA and supporting the amazing work this charity does.”

Neville Koopowitz, CEO of Vitality, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with the RSPCA to launch Big Walkies and we’re really looking forward to the event in Cardiff. A dog not only provides companionship for owners, but also makes them more active. Our research has found nearly three in five dog owners exercise more now they have a pet and many of our Vitality members have told us how important their dog is in helping them enjoy a healthier and more active life.

“Mounting evidence shows it’s the small things that make a big difference to our long term health, whether it’s a short walk or taking the stairs instead of the lift. Big Walkies provides a great opportunity to encourage the nation to take those first steps to a healthier lifestyle and help raise money for a fantastic cause at the same time.”

The events, also taking place in England, will build upon the success of 2015, which saw more than 3,500 dogs, 6,000 owners and 750 volunteers raise over £100,000 to help animals most in need.

For more information please visit www.rspca.org.uk/dogwalk