world's largest pet walk

Thousands of people around the world participated in Pet Partners’ 4th annual World’s Largest Pet Walk on Sept. 25. Pet Partners, an organization that registers therapy animals for animal-assisted interventions, is thrilled with this year’s turnout, officials said. With participation from nearly every state and significant international presence, pet owners and animal lovers were able to enjoy the health benefits of being active with pets, while also fundraising to support Pet Partners’ Therapy Animal Program, officials added.

New this year, Pet Partners honored a therapy animal team as their National Walk Champions for the World’s Largest Pet Walk. Handler Roslyn Lindeman and her therapy dog Abbey, were named Champions and raised more than $10,000 through their fundraising efforts and participated in the event with their family in Florida.

Participants were encouraged to walk at any time and location on Saturday, Sept. 25. Whether participants gathered with friends and family for a casual stroll around the block, led a group walk in their community, or took a quiet hike with their animal, people took steps with pets of all kinds in support of Pet Partners. Dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs, equines, and even alpacas participated in this year’s event, officials reported. The walk also proved to be an excellent opportunity for employee engagement and corporate support, officials added. Blue Shield of California supported the event for a second consecutive year and had more than 500 walk participants, and Dog Is Good for Good formed a walk team for the first time.

“It’s important to recognize just how important pets are, not only to our emotional health, but also to physical health and well-being,” said C. Annie Peters, President & CEO of Pet Partners. “Research has shown that pet owners, particularly dog owners, are more likely to meet the recommended amount of physical activity through walking. On average, dog owners walk one hour more per week compared to those who don’t have dogs.”

While Pet Partners already has its Walk With Me initiative in which registered therapy animal teams coordinate group walks in their community to support movement for health, the World’s Largest Pet Walk was created to encourage worldwide participation with pets of all kinds, all on one specific day.

“Those who have pets are able to benefit from walking regularly with them. For those who do not, walking with a therapy animal can be a great source of stress relief and encouragement to incorporate more exercise into their lifestyle,” Peters added. “Thank you to all who helped make this year’s event a success!”

Funds raised through the World’s Largest Pet Walk support Pet Partners’ Therapy Animal Program, which is made up of visiting therapy animal teams who bring comfort and joy to members of the public, typically in facility settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools, libraries, airports, and at workplace well-being events, officials said. Pet Partners teams make more than 3 million visits per year, touching lives and improving health around the world.