A Border canine tradition won’t take place on Sunday.
For the first time in at least 18 years, Albury isn’t hosting an event for the annual RSPCA fundraiser, Million Paws Walk.
The Albury RSPCA volunteer branch says lack of available helpers led to the decision not to organise the regular gathering of dogs at Hovell Tree Park.
Foster care and information centre co-ordinator Kate Fiedler said the committee hoped to reinstate the walk in the future.
“We’re dropping it just for this year, hopefully, and we can build it to come back next year,” she said.
“It was a whole range of things that we had to take into consideration but the number one thing was we just didn’t think we’d be able to pull it off this year.
“It may have been possible, but I guess we didn’t want to take that risk and it fall flat on the day because that’s not fair on the public.”
Million Paws Walk, the RSPCA’s biggest fundraiser, encourages dogs and their owners to enjoy exercise and a day out with activities like stalls, vet checks, food and live music.
The 2018 national schedule includes an event at Wangaratta Kennel and Obedience Dog Club, Wangaratta Showgrounds, from 8.30am to noon with the walk to begin at 10am.
A spokeswoman for RSPCA NSW said the annual walks were organised by “our amazing volunteers”.
“Unfortunately they were unable to facilitate one in Albury this year, however we hope it will be back next year with enough support,” she said.
Ms Fiedler said last year’s Albury walk attracted fewer participants than previous years.
“It wasn’t as much of a success as we thought it was going to be,” she said.
“There was a whole lot going on that one weekend, which I think contributed to the numbers being down.”
Each year, preparations begin months in advance, sourcing donations and prizes and co-ordinating logistics.
In addition volunteers are needed on the day for jobs like setting up, staffing stalls and overseeing registrations.
“There’s a fair bit involved, I’m not sure that the community realises what goes on,” Ms Fiedler said.
“It’s a great event and the community love it.
“We all love the day too, but we just knew the stress of it all. It put probably too much pressure on the volunteers that were actually there.
“We thought if we could take a year off, rejig a few things in terms of how we’ve done it, so that we can make it as effective and stress-free as possible.
“I hope we can build up our volunteer banks so that we can bring it back for next year.”