BRAVING driving rain and howling winds, intrepid dog walkers refused to be put off raising money for the RSPCA.
The seventh annual Stubbington Ark Wag Walk almost turned into a sponsored swim yesterday when foul weather threatened the event.
But organisers paid tribute to the dedication of supporters who completed 4.5 miles with their faithful canine companions in aid of the animal shelter.
Head of fundraising for the Solent branch of the RSPCA Vanessa Eden said it wasn’t just the elements they had to contend with, as in recent years bringing in money had become harder across the board.
‘It was really good to see people still come out and support us, whatever the weather,’ she said.
‘But it has been declining year on year for the seven years we’ve run it. First we had 60 people and last year in good weather it was down to 25.
‘The Ark is receiving less money overall. People’s finances are under a lot of pressure at the moment and they just can’t afford to donate as much.’
But she added that their dedicated supporters still do the shelter proud, raising more than £2,500 last year from the Wag Walk.
She said: ‘We do get the same people coming back year after year.
‘This is the first year the weather has been bad, but they’re dog walkers anyway so they don’t mind a bit of rain. The dogs certainly don’t mind!’
Taking part in his third Wag Walk, Darren Warsford, 35, from Fareham, was joined by his partner Nina Udell and dogs Belle, Luki and Misty.
‘It was good fun,’ he said. ‘There weren’t too many of us but we enjoyed it.
‘We go out in anything usually so it wasn’t too bad.
‘Luki and Misty were both rescue dogs from the Ark and we like to support what they’re doing.
‘We would definitely adopt again from them.’
Darren also brought his friends Colin and Claire Garner, of Maddocks Way, Waterlooville, who raised £105 for their first-ever Wag Walk.
Colin, 28, said: ‘It was excellent. We thought it would be a good way to support the Ark and all the poor little dogs.’
He added: ‘I did think it would be better weather, but we decided to grin and bear it and hopefully did the Ark proud.’