Wanted: 101 Dalmatians for the Great North Dog Walk!

ONE group of four-legged friends taking part in next month’s Great North Dog Walk won’t be hard to spot!

The South Tyneside charity extravaganza is aiming to attract a record-breaking number of entrants in its silver anniversary year.

It will be like Disney. It is a storybook tale. To get 101 dalmatians together could be a UK record in itself.

Tony Carlisle, organiser

The ambitious bid will be helped by plans to add 101 dalmatians to the thousands of canine companions gracing The Leas, in South Shields, on June 7.

The North of England Dalmatian Welfare (NEDW) – a charity which helps not only to rehome dalmatians but also support current owners struggling to care for their animals – has launched the pet project.

The organisation already has a small army of dogs set to lead the effort – but they are calling on the borough’s dalmatian owners to lend a hand to help them reach the full compliment.

Charity treasurer Joanne Cairns, 49, from Temple Park Road, South Shields, is hoping to turn a Disney dream into a reality – and boost awareness of the work the non-profit organisation does all year round.

The mum-of-five, who herself has two dalmatians, seven-year-old Harley and six-year-old Millie, and has adopted other dalmatians from the welfare in the past, said: “This is the first year we have been a chosen charity for the dog walk.

“We cover such a big area, from North of Stafford to the Scottish borders, but we have struggled to get more local involvement.

“Being part of the dog walk will be ideal.

“We have got volunteers who help the welfare who have dalmatians who will be coming.

“And we also have a Facebook page which dalmatian fosterers have access to, so hopefully many of them will come along.

“But anyone else who has dalmatians is welcome to get involved.

“We have two dalmatians ourselves. I got the bug at a young age.

“My grandad was a breeder of dalmatians and I grew up with a dalmatian that was only one day older than myself.

Great North Dog Walk boss Tony Carlisle, who has raised £5.2m for good causes through the event since its launch in 1990, is delighted to have another worthy charity on board.

Mr Carlisle said: “It will be like Disney. It is a storybook tale.

“To get 101 dalmatians together could be a UK record in itself.

“The dog walk is about raising the profile of charities and businesses in the local area, so people can see their money is staying in the borough.

“I had a dalmatian as a pet when I was 16 and they are beautiful animals.

“It is brilliant to be able to support the charity.”

If you would like your dalmatian to be part of the 101 on show next month, call Mrs Cairns on 07745335919 or e-mail her at joanne.cairns@sky.com.

More information on the North of England Dalmatian Welfare is available at www.northofenglanddalmatianwelfare.co.uk

People can still enter the Great North Dog Walk by logging onto www.greatnorthdogwalk.co.uk