Walking with Winston to raise funds for unloved pups

Emma Cooper and her dog, Winston, are taking part in this year's ASB Summer Starter on November 27.
GEORGE HEARD/FAIRFAX NZ

Emma Cooper and her dog, Winston, are taking part in this year's ASB Summer Starter on November 27.

Emma Cooper and pup Winston have a good reason for taking an easy approach to this year's ASB Summer Starter.

Cooper is expecting her first child is due in early January, just a couple of months before thousands take to the streets on November 27 for the annual fun run. 

She will only walk due to her advanced pregnancy but said she was happy to take part to support her chosen charity, Dogwatch Sanctuary Trust.

"I am not going to have the same amount of energy that I did when I ran it last year but I still want to get out there and have a good time. We will still be dressing up and getting into it.

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"I thought it might be one of my last opportunities before I have the baby to do something for Dogwatch."

Dogwatch rescues and rehomes dogs from council pounds in Christchurch cityAshburton, Waimakariri and Selwyn.

After a seven-day holding period, councils become the legal owner of a dog and at their discretion may rehome the animal or destroy it. 

"I hate thinking about them getting killed. Imagine if that happened to Winston. It is really important work Dogwatch does," Cooper said.

She began volunteering at Dogwatch two years ago, and said the experience helped shape her life plan. 

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"Before I got Winston and started volunteering I was on a completely different track. 

"I've always loved dogs and once I got Winston and started volunteering, I just realised how much happier I would be if I did it all the time."

Cooper left her job and started her own company, E Pet Care, which provides in-home pet care to households across Christchurch.

She wanted to raise awareness for the work the charity was doing.

"Summer Starter is just a fun way to do it really. And I can bring Winston which is really nice."

In 2015, 130 dogs participated in the event. This year, dogs are allowed on both the 4km and 10km course.

Dog water stations and bins will be provided along the course. A dog shuttle will operate before and after the event. 

Registrations to this year's ASB Summer Starter are now open.

St John was named as the primary charity, in a significant change to the event's fundraising model from last year.

While multiple charities were involved in 2015, having one main charity meant "a much bigger cheque that can make a lot more of a difference", Fairfax national events manager Brett McMeekin said.

Just by entering online and participating in the event, $3 from every entry (and the full $5 entry fee for children under 9) is automatically donated to St John. 

Participants can set up their own fundraising page with EverydayHero and raise money for the charity of their choice. 

For more information about Dogwatch and to see their dogs up for adoption, visit Dogwatch's website.

 - Stuff

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