Pets to join Walk-With-a-Doc for world’s largest pet walk

  • Residents have been participating in Walk with a Doc program each Saturday morning since January. The special Sept. 29 event will include their beloved pets. (LANDRY FULLER/SPECIAL TO WEST HAWAII TODAY)

WAIMEA — Pet owners can start primping their dogs now for North Hawaii Community Hospital’s “Walk-with-a-Doc” program scheduled on Sept. 29. That day, they will join thousands of people and their pets around the world for the first-ever “World’s Largest Pet Walk.”

The Pet Walk encourages people to enjoy the health benefits of being active with pets. Community members and their canines will join NHCH’s pet therapy dogs on the one-hour walk that starts at 8 a.m. at Pukalani Stables, rain or shine. Pets must be well behaved and on leashes. No sign up is required.

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The World’s Largest Pet Walk was created by Pet Partners, the nation’s leading organization registering therapy animals.

“The Walk-with-a-Doc program also encourages physical activity in people of all ages, and combining the two activities together was a natural,” Dr. Natalie Kehau Kong said, the physician sponsor of NHCH’s Walk-with-a-Doc program. “The human-animal bond is a very real connection that can mentally and physically positively impact our well-being, with pets encouraging us to get out and be more active than we might otherwise be.”

“We encourage all members of the community to join us in support of World’s Largest Pet Walk,” Julia Ramos added, NHCH’s volunteer coordinator and fund development manager. “Bring your pet and if you don’t have one, we have therapy animals you can walk with.”

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Anyone interested in becoming a pet therapy team member can learn more at petpartners.org or visit the hospital’s website at www.nhch.com in the Careers/Volunteer section.

For Pet Walk questions, call 881-4421.