Perhaps some of the more internationally active charity fundraising organizations are those that attempt to raise money for cancer research. Around the United States and internationally there are many different Paws For A Cause, Paws For The Cause and Paws With A Cause doggy walks held annually to help raise money for private and publicly funded cancer foundations, research and ongoing education and community awareness programs.
Since most cancer foundations provide several different types of services that are local as well as larger in scope, there is a direct benefit to the community thanks to those dogs and their owners that participate in these walks. Many cancer research programs that received funds from charity events offer educational programs to the community, free cancer screenings, mammograms for women that don't have insurance coverage and even treatment and ongoing support for cancer survivors.
Often Paws for The Cause charity cancer walks are usually held in parks or along designate walking trails, often with fully handicapped accessible trails and paths. In addition the walks often have two or more different routes, one that is shorter and one that is longer. Dogs and their owners can walk either the longer or shorter route, depending on their comfort with walking as well as sponsorship or entrance level. Some walks raise money through dogs and walkers collecting donations or pledges while others charge an entrance fee for the walk that is then donated to the cancer foundation or charity.
As with any type of dog walk cancer Paws for the Cause charity walks are designed to be non-competitive and fun for the whole family. Most events will start in the mid morning and will end in the early afternoon, before the weather gets too hot. Walks often include fun activities for the whole family including dog shows, demonstrations of dog events and even awards for the best dressed dog on the walk. Fun events for the kids are also included in the day. These may be things like fun obstacle courses for children to go through, face painting, costume prizes for kids and even a special dog walk for children to take their four legged companions.
Many cancer dog walks also strive to provide an educational component for the day. This can include pamphlets and brochures provided to participants, booths and demonstration areas or even public awareness campaigns that occur simultaneously with the walk. Often this public awareness focuses on issues such as the dangers of smoking and second hand smoke, the importance of cancer screening and mammograms as well as cancer prevention and reduction strategies.
Healthy snacks and water or juicesfor both humans and dogs along the walk are typically provided by corporate sponsors or as donated by different organizations and businesses within the community. The Paws for a Cause walks are some of the best attended dog walks internationally and have really become a major part of cancer charity events in many communities. The non-competitive and very friendly and social aspects of the walk make it a real hit with both owners and dogs and their family friendly nature only helps increase the participation every year.
Some Paws for a Cause charity walks may also have information for dog owners on preventing cancer in pets. This may include general information on cancer prevention in dogs including the risk of being in households with smokers or being exposed to different chemicals and environmental contaminants that are linked to cancer in dogs. Increasing education of all the walkers is important, however not all information is directly related to cancer in dogs. Some walks will have information on proper diet for dogs, managing diabetes in pets and even tips of dog first aid, grooming and training.
Getting ready to enter into a Paws for a Cause dog charity walk is really just a matter of getting yourself and your dog in condition to walk. Most walks are approximately one mile in length and tend to be over flat or very easy terrain. Dogs and their owners don't have any time limit to complete the walk and many dogs find time to stop and play and get a chance to socialize with other dogs along the hike. This low stress type walk means that owners and dogs can pick their own pace and complete the walk at their own speed.
The most important aspect for owners prior to the walk is to make sure that their dog is well socialized and is fully under control during the walk. In some parks and on some walks dogs may have the option of being either on or off leash for the event. If you are planning on allowing the dog off leash during the walk he or she has to respond to your commands of leash and show no signs of aggression towards other dogs. Most walks will have an off-leash dog play area at the starting point or at the end point, but will require dogs on the walk to stay on leash. Know what the rules are for walking with your dog before starting the event.
Keep in mind that keeping the park area clean is important for future hosting of the event. Bring a couple of bags with you to clean up any mess that your dog may make, plus be responsible about bringing water for your dog if the weather is hotter than usual or if your dog is not used to being outdoors. You may also want to bring a backpack with a small first aid kit as well as a favorite toy for the dog to keep them occupied at the beginning and end of the event.
Most events are very well staffed with lots of volunteers that will help with the management of the walk. You may wish to walk one year and volunteer the next, providing support for the charity through your participation in both positions. If there isn't a cancer charity dog walk in your area you may also want to contact the Cancer Society and discuss what would need to occur to get a walk started.