Autumn in the UK may not be renowned for offering fantastic weather but, as the sun shone down on a delightful October morning, hundreds of people – and a number of wagging tails – descended on Mote Park to take part in the RSPCA Big Walkies event. We ourselves had decided to enter our own dog to take part, raising money to support the fantastic work carried out by the Leybourne RSPCA Animal Centre in West Malling. It was a great cause and a great opportunity to stretch our legs and meet with other pet owners from around the local area.
Before I continue, I should probably mention that our dog is a pug. Not just any pug. Arguably the most easily distracted, untrainable and – dare I say it – stupidest pug to walk the Earth. This is an animal that once ate a whole dinner candle, spends her days barking at her reflection in any shiny surface, and has gone headfirst into patio doors on more than one occasion. (Basically, if we were quicker with a video camera, we could be making a fortune from You’ve Been Framed.)
Anyway, here we were, surrounded by dozens upon dozens of better-behaved creatures, each piquing her interest and causing her to bound right, left, and centre. It was going to be an effort to complete the three-kilometre walk, taking in the lake, passing the boat house, and shepherding her away from the ducks and swans. The potential for mayhem was all-too real and all these other dogs were putting us to shame.
Still, we made it to the check-in section nice and early, got the dog dressed in her complementary bandana, and grabbed ourselves a coffee (it was a Sunday morning, lest we forget). It was great seeing so many people from around Maidstone supporting such a worthwhile cause, and we had the chance to meet a range of varied dog breeds… some of which we’d never even seen before. Our own pug, meanwhile, wasn’t shy from introducing herself, despite the reservations of others (see the fear in the eyes below!).
As we made our way around the course, we had the chance to experience the autumnal charm of the park. Talk of the changing hues of nature may often seem fantastical and elaborate, but the spectrum of colours on display really was enchanting. It’s easy to overlook just how fortunate we are to have such a magnificent area to discover in the centre of Maidstone. And, with Mote Park hosting a diverse selection of activities – ranging from the leisure centre to music festivals – there is something for everyone… dogs included.
It did take us far too long to complete the course, mainly due to the dog having to stop and introduce herself to everyone – and I mean everyone – and it didn’t take much for us to fall to the back of the group. That said, we finally crossed the finish line and were handed a rosette and goody bag for the dog (and, as the saying goes, “All we got was this t-shirt”). It was a great day out made all the better by the sunny weather, and we hope that the money raised does much to support the RSPCA in its valuable work.
About the author
Michael is a member of the marketing team at Visit Maidstone and is an experienced writer. He has a passion for history and cinema, and likes nothing more than combining the two. View more by Michael.