Pet Partners is hosting the largest pet walk in the country on September 24th

Pet walkers of any age can participate in the September 24 event just by walking their pet.

September 24, Get outside and walk your pet

On Saturday, September 24th, thousands of pets will walk with people on a special national day as dog owners in cities across the country raise awareness and funds to help the nonprofit Pet Partners.

Pet Partners is based in Washington state and has branch offices in many cities across the United States, bringing trained pets to visit people in recovery, including seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Pet Partners is a national leader in animal therapy, activities and education, and pet visits include students, veterans with PTSD, people experiencing crisis events and people nearing the end of life. Therapy animals include nine species of creatures, including dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, llamas and alpacas.

This year’s honoree is the late Carolyn Marr, a Dallas resident who gave tirelessly to the organization and pet therapy programs in the Dallas area. He died in 2021 after last year’s walk.

For five years

The idea for the National Pet Walk came from Traci Pryor, Director of Development at Pet Partners, more than five years ago. “There are many ways therapy animals can help people,” says Elisabeth Van Every, spokeswoman for the Washington state office. The Walk With Me therapy program is a simple concept, movement in general is good for us. We need sports to improve mental and physical health.” The “World’s Largest Pet Walk” is a way to get that message out to the public while raising funds to bring more pets to people.

The first National Pet Walk was held in 2014 and Pet Partners currently has staff from Tucson, Arizona to Raleigh and Charlotte North Carolina, Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada, Salt Lake City, Utah; two employees work in Southern California near Los Angeles and San Diego, and more in South Carolina and south-central Virginia, Richmond and Winchester. “Our program is nationwide,” explains Elisabeth. “There are Pet Partners teams around the country and people who are interested can train to become Pet Partners with their pets.”

Elizabeth notes, “The most important thing is the therapy animal. “You can teach a dog anything, but we want animals that love people and are naturally interactive.”

He explains that the human end of the rope is just as important. “Our human partner needs to make sure the animal is enjoying the experience. And of course they provide transportation – dogs can’t drive themselves to destinations – yet.

A pet owner training course on how to become a pet sitter and a pet health check from a veterinarian are required. The final step is a screening interview for both pet and handler. Both meet people they haven’t seen before, where they haven’t been and see how they react to unexpected noise, this unfamiliar environment and meeting strangers is what animals really enjoy and want. make. After completing registration, partners receive credentials and liability insurance.

Partners choose where they go. “Relatively common for our Animal Partners are healthcare facilities and senior living facilities.” Monthly or bi-monthly trips are planned and the only limitation is that the partners are one-to-one: one handler and one animal. And visits are no more than two hours a day. “Some animals would be fine with more time than that, but we don’t want to put an animal or their human partner out,” says Elizabeth.

Who can be a Partner?

Pet Partners currently accepts nine different animals. Dogs are the largest category. Then there are cats, horses (miniature horses), donkeys, rabbits, guinea pigs, house rats, birds (parrots and pigeons), miniature pigs, llamas and alpacas. Pet Partners is the only national group to register this extensive list of species.

The Fifth Annual World’s Largest Pet Walk on September 24, Promoting Physical Activity for People and Pets, is an all-day celebration and signature fundraiser highlighting the powerful impact pets have on human health and well-being.

Based in Bellevue, Washington, Pet Partners is the nation’s leading nonprofit registering therapy animals for animal-assisted interventions. Pet Partners, presented by Wellness Pet Company, invites people around the world to kick off their walking shoes, strap on their leashes, and join the walk to help Pet Partners raise $100,000 to support therapy animal visits this year.

This event is for anyone who wants to enjoy the health benefits of being active with their pets, and walkers are encouraged to walk anytime and anywhere on September 24th.

Participants can walk around their block, lead a group walk in their community, or take a quiet walk with their animals. “Pets are not only good for our emotional well-being, but they can be good for our physical health, and this walk proves that,” said J. Annie Peters, president and CEO of Pet Partners. “Walking your pet can have positive outcomes for both pet and parent, so participating in this event is a win-win!”

The Honorable Carolyn Marr of Dallas

This year, the annual walk will posthumously honor a very special Walk Champion: Carolyn Marr. Carolyn was a member of Greater Dallas Pet Partners. She believed in the therapeutic benefits of animals and dedicated her life to this cause, passionately serving as a handler, team evaluator and volunteer instructor for Pet Partners.

Carolyn and her registered therapy animals have visited thousands of people in need during her many years of volunteer service. She was an avid supporter of the event and Pet Partners for many years and died shortly after participating in last year’s World’s Largest Pet Walk.

As one of the original founders of Greater Dallas Pet Partners, he and his pet lover, Sue Shultz, worked together at The Delta Society before deciding to become the local chapter of Pet Partners.

Sharon Alexander, now Evaluator and Coordinator for Pet Partners of Greater Dallas, said she met them at a local pet show in Richardson. At the time, she was considering training her Australian Kelpie, Freedom, to be a service animal.

Freedom was on the streets of Bedford and was taken with a nylon rope attached to his neck. “When the technician looked at her and Freedom licked her hand, they wanted to euthanize her,” Sharon recalls. “So the technician couldn’t do that – instead he found a local rescue group and got him the treatment he so desperately needed.” Sharon felt that Freedom would give something else. “He had the personality to be a therapy dog.”

Once he met Carolyn Marr, “She was so enthusiastic and so beautiful that I remember thinking, maybe this could work for me.” Sharon became an administrator, “and then Carolyn called me to be an appraiser!”

When Carolyn decided to retire from the day-to-day operations of Pet Partners, she asked Sharon to become the coordinator.

“Carolyn was always there for every assessment,” says Sharon. He looked at people. He made sure they were happy with what they were doing. His love for animals was insurmountable. He brought them to his church and workplace long before people thought of bringing animals into these places.

Carolyn also brought her trained animals to Terrell State Hospital to help treat the patients who live there.

Carolyn was a great influence on the entire team at Pet Partners, says Sharon, “and she had great stories to tell! “He was able to make us laugh and you grew with his knowledge and experience.”

How to get involved

Those interested can learn more, register and create an online fundraising page by visiting petpartners.org/wlpw. Check out Pet Partners on Facebook for ideas.

Pet Partners encourages participants to share photos of their walk on social media with the hashtag #WorldsLargestPetWalk.

Lilia Hollis, CEO of White Rock Dog Rescue, encourages all pet owners to participate in the walk. “Pets definitely have a positive impact on our lives through companionship,” she says, “They alleviate loneliness, anxiety and depression. What could be better than having someone so excited to see you and spend time with you every day?

As a special thank you to fundraisers, Pet Partners is giving away pet bandanas, commemorative T-shirts and more. offers incentives such as Funds raised through the World’s Largest Animal Walk support Animal Partners’ Animal Therapy Program, which consists of visits by groups of therapy animals that bring comfort and joy to members of the public, typically in facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and libraries. , airports and workplace welfare measures.

Pet Partners is a national leader in demonstrating and promoting the health and wellness benefits of animal-assisted therapy, activities and education. Since the organization’s inception in 1977, the science behind these benefits has been confirmed in numerous studies. With thousands of registered teams and millions of visitors each year, Pet Partners serves as the nation’s most diverse and respected nonprofit organization for registering as many species as volunteer teams.

With the release of the Standards of Practice for Animal-Assisted Interventions and international expansion, Pet Partners is recognized globally as the industry’s gold standard. For more information about Pet Partners, visit petpartners.org.

For more information on the World’s Largest Pet Walk, contact Elisabeth Van Every at press@petpartners.org or visit petpartners.org/wlpw.

Leave a Comment