5 Sep

parkrun Becomes barkrun

Dog at parkrunIn a classic tale (or should that be tail?) of wags to riches, an RSPCA inspector has helped rehome around 20 dogs by taking them along to her local parkrun. Each Saturday Marie Hammerton is joined at Basildon parkrun in Essex by a four-footed running buddy who is looking for a new home.

Marie said: “I was going to parkrun anyway and thought I could help by giving the dogs a bit of exercise at the same time. The other runners are always excited to see them, they are treated like celebrities.

“One of the dogs, Marley, was rehomed as a direct result of parkrun. Someone spotted him and fell in love with him. It’s lovely because he comes to parkrun so I still see him regularly. The dogs really enjoy it. I make sure I run at their pace and keep a close eye on them. We always take breaks for water and if they don’t want to carry on running we stop.

“I do it for fun so I’m not worried what time I get but one of the dogs Nevada was so fast she helped me get a new personal best. I collapsed in a heap afterwards and she was still full of energy.”

Marie’s parkrun pooches are all from the RSPCA Essex South and Southend Branch and Crofters Rescue in Rayleigh.

Kathy Butler, a trustee and dog coordinator at RSPCA Southend, said: "It's a great experience for our dogs. We choose dogs who are fit enough to take part and who love to meet new people and explore new places. Marie takes great care of them and often takes them to the seaside or country park too, which gives them a change of scenery from kennels and is fantastic for their wellbeing.

"It has also helped with rehoming as we are able to share the photo's Marie takes via social media. It shows a dogs individual versatility and how much fun they can bring into your life.”