Mental Wheels Foundation (MWF) is running its first annual WALK4PAWS MentalHealth March Dog Walking Challenge throughout March.

Walk4Paws aims to raise $1 million and have 10,000 people walking with theirdogs by the end of March to inspire those suffering from mental and physicalhealth adversities.

Gareth Pike, co-founder of MWF, said money raised will go towards mentalhealth and research programs to make a positive impact on mental health inAustralia.

“Research shows that walking improves physical fitness – reducing obesity –and mental health in both people and their pets. Our main goal is to take1,000 dogs from animal shelters and, in partnership with MindDog, train themto be service dogs and paired with a person suffering from mental healthadversities in a 12-month program that delivers amazing results!”

According to Lifeline, nine Australians die every day by suicide and more than65,000 make a suicide attempt each year.

Vaughan McVilly, a mental health advocate who co-founded the Walk4Paws WalkingChallenge, suffered from mental health struggles and was guided back to abetter place in part to his Border Collie, Gilly.

“Gilly and I walk every day and love to learn new things together. Gilly showsunconditional love and provides me with a higher sense of purpose. She relieson me for physical and mental stimulus as well as food, and I depend on herfor mental and physical motivation and licks!”

To participate in the Walk4Paws Mental Health March Dog Walking Challenge,simply walk your dog for 30 minutes every day for 30 days, post a pic or videoof you walking alongside the tag #Walk4Paws and #MentalHealthMarch, andnominate another dog walker to accept the challenge.

Image: Vaughn McVilly and Gilly.

Tagged: mental health, Mental Wheels Foundation, Walk4Paws

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