Raglan’s letting the dogs out

What do you get when you let out a pack of adorable dogs and their people for a beach walk fundraiser?

You get the Rag Dog Muster on Saturday, April 24, at 9am.

Dogs and humans of every kind will head out for nearly 11-kilometres walking or running along the beach, through the Wainui Bush Reserve, over a paddock and back again.

Beginning (and ending) at Papahua Reserve by the skateboard bowl, the doggy day out is a fundraiser for the Raglan Veterinary’s rehoming unwanted/stray animals’ fund.

Organiser Christine Stewart was inspired by the 4 Paws Marathon in Christchurch and her own experiences with a rescue dog.

“I heard Dr John Malloy interviewed on the Kathryn Ryan radio show and he organised the marathon. I thought we could do that. Not a marathon but I thought a 10k sounded doable.”

Christine’s love of her rescue dog is very much at the heart of the mammoth effort she is putting in to organise the event.

It was a volunteering role at the Raglan Vets walking a rescue dog that turned into greyhound cross Lenny becoming a permanent fixture in her life.

Christine had never owned a dog before Lenny.

She’s had him for nearly four years now and while it took a bit of time for him to settle, Christine says it was worth the effort.

“Donna at the vets said it was a match made in heaven. He was so thin and sad-eyed, and I had the time. I needed a lot of time with Lenny that first year.”

Christine and Lenny have met many rescue dogs on their regular walks around Whaingaroa and she is heartened by their stories and understands the dedication it takes to adopt a rescue dog.

“It’s a big commitment to take on a rescue dog. They’re not easy to rehome. You’ve got to have a person who really has an affinity for dogs and the time to spend with them,” she says.

Whilst the event is all about the dogs, Christine reckons it’s a great day out for people who don’t have a dog but would love to walk with a pack of friendly pooches.

“Anyone can join, they don’t need a dog.”

Like many events over the past few years, the muster has hit a few Covid speed bumps including being rescheduled.

But Christine hasn’t let the vagaries of Covid dim her enthusiasm and is organising the muster on a wing and a prayer, and help from a few locals. 

The Raglan Ramblers are marshalling the event, Raglan Sign Co has helped with signage, Raglan Vets for doggy advice, Brian Thurgood has done the website “for a song”, Lucy Galbraith for the artwork, Good Noze for pet treats and more.

Rag Dog Muster starts at 9am at the Papahua Reserve by the skateboard bowl on Saturday, April 24.

Participants must register online at ragdogmuster.com. There will be no registrations on the day.