As part of his goal to promote humane education and compassion for animals, Cesar Millan is finalizing plans for a National Family Pack Walk that will be held next month on the National Mall. A canine behavior expert best known as the man behind the hit television show The Dog Whisperer, Millan has scheduled the event for September 29 and will lead thousands of dogs and their owners, animal care experts, and adoptable pets for a one-and-a-half-mile Saturday morning stroll around the National Mall.
This is the second event of its kind—the first was held in LA last year—and Millan hopes staging a walk in the nation’s capital, near the halls of Congress, will encourage America’s elected officials to participate, or at least to pay more attention to the grim national statistics surrounding homeless and abused companion animals.
“I welcome all political leaders and their dogs to come walk with us. I hope they understand how concerned people are about the plight of shelter dogs and the need for spaying and neutering programs,” Millan says. “The Humane Society of the United States estimates that animal shelters care for six to eight million dogs and cats every year in the United States, and three to four million are euthanized. We are a better society than that.”
Beyond raising awareness, the Pack Walk’s main priority is to generate funding for the Cesar Millan Foundation, which offers financial support to affiliated animal welfare groups and also rescues, rehabilitates, and rehomes abused and abandoned dogs. Disaster relief is of particular importance to Millan’s group: The foundation sent relief help to earthquake-ravaged Japan, supported animal rescue efforts after Hurricane Katrina, and recently worked with North Shore Animal League of America to help animals displaced by the Colorado wildfires.
Much like other charity walks, individual participants or teams will raise money prior to the event date. Families are encouraged to walk together at the kid-friendly gathering (Scooby-Doo will cohost), and walkers who don’t own a dog can opt to pair up with a shelter to walk with a pup during the event or simply show up and walk. National and local animal rescue groups, including North Shore Animal League of America, will park mobile adoption units on-site to match up adoptable dogs—provided by the Washington Humane Society—with participants.
“By participating in the walk as a community, walkers are demonstrating that we can finally be a dog’s true best friend,” Millan explains. “We will walk in Washington to save animals and promote their right to a good life in a good home with well-educated pet owners, and raise funds that will help save the lives of dogs.” For more information or to register for the walk, visit cesarsway.com/packwalk.