On Sunday morning, hundreds (thousands?) of humans were taken ‘walkies’ by their four-legged best friends, who tugged excitedly at leashes, tails whipping side to side and noses straining to inhale all manner of strange and wonderful scents. The air was filled with a chaotic chorus of yipping and yapping, wroofing and barking, the occasional growl as somedog sniffed a butt too intimately, and the occasional squeal as anotherdog’s paw got trodden on.
It was the 17th annual Wiggle Waggle Walkathon, a fund-raising event organised by the Society for the Protection of Animals in Cape Town.
Although we don’t have a dog (much to the relief of our adoptee cat Tuffy), we’ve always enjoyed joining in the fun (see Wiggle Waggle of 2008 and the first northern suburbs Woefie Wandel of 2010). Entries cost R30 per human and R20 per dog, which is most reasonable. In addition:
“The MySchool/MyVillage/MyPlanet fundraising programme has again pledged an extra R10 to the SPCA for every dog entered. Last year just over 1613 dogs took part, and this year we are aiming to get 2000 dogs entered to secure a further R20 000.” (SPCA website)
Registration was quick, as we had paid the entrance fees electronically and I’d already printed out and filled in the required forms. We proudly stuck our identification tags to our shirts, and then headed across the field towards the stand whose scent was the most inviting for us humans: the coffee-on-the-go stand! Contentedly clutching our cups of coffee and tea, we found some seats on the stands overlooking the field, and took in the vibe. As we waited, the field began to fill up with clusters of dogs and humans greeting each other enthusiastically and making new friends.
Shortly before 9am, we moved closer to the starting line, and waited patiently for Soli Philander, the MC for the event, to count us down. He reminded us that it was not a race, but a walk! Our 4.5 km route took us around the streets of Tokai, starting and ending at the spacious open fields of the School for Maths Science and Technology in Tokai, at the corner of Firgrove Way and Spaanschemat River Road.
We walked at a steady pace, stopping from time to time to let people pass, and to look out for friends and their dogs. The vibe was peaceful and relaxed, and the marshals and the traffic cops kept everyone in line. The watering stations, manned by friendly volunteers, were always exciting places to pause briefly in the shade – kids, dogs and water are a most entertaining combination! The walk was over all too quickly, I thought, and so we lingered next to the field for a bit, watching people crossing the finish line. What a wonderful, relaxing way to spend a weekend morning!