2018 is Year of the Dog and will be celebrated by staging New Zealand’s largest and most epic annual dog walking event.
The Big Dog Walk With Lots of Dogs presented by Pet Connect is now in its third year and has grown from a Jack Russell to a Great Dane. What started out as a bit of a joke and created off the back of only $1000 of personal investment has snowballed into an annual dog celebration attended by thousands.
In 2016 the idea was floated on Facebook on a whim but became viral within hours turning an outlandish idea into a runaway hit garnering thousands as ‘attending’ within a few hours. The concept is simple – you don’t have to own a dog to come along, you just have to really like dogs. It turns out lots of people really like dogs.
In 2016 there were synchronised events in Auckland and Wellington, in 2017 the number of events was increased to four, adding Hamilton and Napier to the mix, while Auckland and Wellington doubled in attendance numbers. This year Christchurch has been added.
While the aim of these events is to simply to go on a fun walk surrounded by dogs, it’s also for a good cause. The Big Dog Walk is now a bonafide charity called For Lots of Dogs.
Money from sponsors and every dollar donated by attendees goes into the For Lots of Dogs fund. The fund goes towards distributing food for dogs in need.
The events are for anyone who likes dogs. Even people without dogs are encouraged to come along and ‘dog stalk’ or ‘stare at other people’s dogs’. There will be plenty of offerings and activities for humans too like food trucks, coffee and stalls from local cool pet industry brands and services. But most importantly, there will be lots of dogs.
“People actually travel from all over to attend the Big Dog Walk With Lots of Dogs. It’s become bigger than Ben-Hur! If Ben-Hur was a Mastiff,” organiser Bailey McCormack says.
With the larger centres pulling in 5000 each and the smaller cities around 1000 in 2017, this year’s walks are set to attract even more, with an expected combined total in excess of 20,000 across the country.
The Big Dog Walk With Lots of Dogs – 2018
Napier | Marine Parade | 7 April | Facebook event
Hamilton | Lake Domain | 14 April | Facebook event
Wellington | Waitangi Park | 21 April | Facebook event
Auckland | Waiatarua Park | 28 April | Facebook event
Christchurch | North Hagley Park | 5 May | Facebook event