Area pet lovers are encouraged to bring their pets for a very special walk on Sept. 25.

Local group Compassionate Paws Inc. is organizing a walk with therapy animals and local pets in honor of Pet Partners’ 4th annual World’s Largest Pet Walk.

On that day, people around the world will get out their walking shoes, grab their leashes and head outside for a walk that encourages everyone to enjoy the health benefits of being active with their pets.

“We encourage all members of the community to join us in support of the World’s Largest Pet Walk,” said D’Ann Downey, President of Compassionate Paws, Inc. “Bring your pet, and if you don’t have one, we have therapy animals you can walk with. The human-animal bond is a very real connection that can mentally and physically impact our well-being for the better. The idea that our pets can encourage us to get out and be more active than we might otherwise be is something to be celebrated.”

Compassionate Paws is a community partner of Pet Partners. The local group takes therapy animals to visit area hospitals, assisted living facilities, participates in community events, visits local colleges and participates in the Read with Me program in schools and libraries.

The walk will take place Sept. 25 starting at 10 a.m. at the Mount Berry Trail behind the post office on Martha Berry Highway.

“It would be nice if we have a lot of families and individuals walking with us that day,” Downey said. “But people don’t necessarily have to walk with us. They can walk in their own neighborhoods or on another trail. The important thing is to honor that human-companion animal bond.”

Downey said it will be a fun event and if there is interest, Compassionate Paws may introduce a monthly Walk with Me program.

There is no registration fee to walk, but Pet Partners encourages supporters to fundraise in honor of their participation. More information can be found online at p2p.onecause.com/wlpw. Funds raised through the World’s Largest Pet Walk support Pet Partner’s Therapy Animal Program which is made up of therapy animal teams who bring comfort and joy to members of the public, typically in facility settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools, libraries, airports, and at workplace well-being events. Pet Partners teams make more than 3 million visits per year.

Pet Partners encourages participants to share photos of their walk on social media using the hashtag #WorldsLargestPetWalk.

For more information about the World’s Largest Pet Walk, visit www.worldslargestpetwalk.org.

Those interested in becoming a Pet Partner can email D’Ann Downey at ddowneywarley@comcast.net or visit online at www.romepaws.org. The organization is always in need of new pet partner teams.

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