Walking for welfare

Stephen Bassett has been walking around New Zealand for ten months. After starting off on January 7, 2017, the Wellingtonian has been making his way through the country with his two little travelling companions, six year old pugalier Jake, and 12 year old Chihuahua cross, Piccolo.
The trio were spotted in Pukekohe, Tuakau and Pukekawa, making stops at Franklin Cat Rescue, and Pukekawa School, sharing the message of improving animal welfare in New Zealand.
“I worked in animal welfare and animal shelters and I got burnt out. I wanted to continue doing something related to animals, so this is what I did,” Stephen said of his trip around the country. He has been visiting animal shelters and schools along the way.
While he has been fundraising, Stephen said the real idea behind the walk is getting people to engage with local rescue organisations. “You might have a unique set of skills that are valuable to an animal shelter.”
“People have been positive,” Stephen said. “It is hard to know if it has been effective and know if it is making a difference.”
He said he has been stopped many times on his journey and gets to share about what and why he is walking. Naturally, the dogs are a hit with the communities he reaches. “Jake’s all about the adventure. He enjoys people and walks beside me most of the way. Piccolo is more about sleeping and cuddles. He likes his naps.”
Stephen’s journey will end in Wellington in two month’s time. To follow his journey, find ‘The Longest Walk NZ’ on Facebook.

Pukekawa students Damon Benson and Sean Thomas grab a picture with Stephen and Jake last Thursday. Photo supplied.

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