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On dogs and water trends

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Taxpayers help out Great North Dog Walk

Well I did manage to catch some of yesterday’s event on the Leas in South Shields, but as in previous years I came away with some nagging and uncomfortable questions in my head, I was there for an hour between 12:00 noon and 13:00. Parking was relatively easy on the Coast Road but the first obstacles to avoid were some small areas of dog droppings on the grass, so perhaps not all participants were as responsible as we might have hoped with their free “poop bags” provided by local taxpayers.

Secondly, I was wondering what the organisers had done with my (taxpayers’) grant of £500 meant to pay for bottles of water for the four-legged participants. I saw no evidence of bottles anywhere, neither stacked ready for use, nor empty and filling the waste bins (unlike the Great North Run where they are abundant) and I had no idea that pooches had a penchant for Evian these days, the dogs I have owned never seemed to turn their noses up at good old Northumbria Water’s supply direct from the tap, however I did see a few of these being used to fill up these. I hope some poor soul hadn’t been given the arduous task of emptying all of the fresh bottles of spring water into those horrible plastic water carriers, can you imagine how long it must have taken?

The importance of the water should not be overlooked, of course, the whole event may have been cancelled without a supply of the canines’ favourite natural spring variety:

Fearing he may have to cancel the event, organiser Tony Carlisle contacted the Mayor’s office for help and was advised by Coun John Anglin to apply for community area forum cash.A panel made up of all the chairs and vice-chairs of each of the six community area forums has granted £500, to pay for the water. Riverside community area forum has also granted £468.30 for poop bags.

What? Do you mean the charity raiser may have called the whole thing off if he and his helpers had to fill water carriers with tap water? I cannot believe it.

We are not told which of the sponsors had pulled out of this Guinness Book of Records Dog Walk, but I hope it wasn’t Northumbria Water, after all Mr. Carlisle is still giving them advertising space on his website.

Which brings me to another point – if the bottled water had been obtained at a discount (say 50p per litre) then £500 would only provide sufficient luxury drinking for around 2000 dogs, and that’s if they only lapped up 1/2 litre each, yet the organisers claim to involve over 12000 dogs, so some poor pooches perhaps had to do without. With the event lasting around four hours it suggests that around 3000 dogs per hour are walking, and if each of the 12000 dogs were brought to South Shields sea front by car, then we would have one very large parking problem (which we did not, I parked with ease).

Can somebody tell me, can the Coast Road accomodate 12000 parked cars? Can it even cope with 3000 parked cars per hour? I am starting to wonder just how the numbers of dogs involved are recorded, validated, and verified, and exactly how much involvement there is from Guinness World Records Ltd.(inviting one of their judges or adjudicators will cost a minimum of £2000), perhaps I should be sending a few emails to various people to ask the question, but as this picture of last year’s start shows there are certainly NOT thousands of dogs ready to go! In my opinion, and the opinion of some who have participated in previous events, the numbers just don’t add up, they look awkward and implausible.

Mr. Carlisle writes on his website that the Great North Dog Walk has donated over £3.5m pounds to charitable causes, and that he has also been United kingdom fund raiser of the year on three occasions and has thrice been nominated for an OBE, which sounds great, but I’d like to know who got what and in which years, one assumes that accounts are kept for this event and somebody must see them, but it’s a shame they aren’t available on his website. After 17 years running the event these figures suggest that over £200000 is donated to various bodies each year, it would be nice to know much dogs and their owners’ involvement is responsible for. The publishing of accounts would also let us see how much the event costs to organise each year and how much sponsorship is collected and reasonably used to offset those costs.

As tax payers we could then know whether or not our councillors are doing the right thing by throwing best part of £1000 in Mr. Carlisle’s direction, when it may have been easier to advise him to approach the nearest tap.

I’m sure there’s a bone here that some dog would love to get it’s teeth into.


Oh look, this year’s numbers have shot up to 17427 dogs, that’s now 3500 per hour, I’ve emailed Mr. Carlisle and Guinness World Records Ltd. to try and discern exactly how these numbers are arrived at.

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Written by curly

June 15, 2009 at 1:06 pm

4 Responses

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  1. An interesting post Curly. I’ve never had any strong opinions either way on the Great North Dog Walk but when I read in last weeks Gazette, about the last minute crisis, I was left wondering ‘doesn’t the Great North Dog Walk have a last minute crisis every year?’


    June 15, 2009 at 3:27 pm

  2. […] was £500 of our cash in 2009 and Brian made the point that the Great North Dog Walk in South Shields seems to have a last minute […]

  3. […] On dogs and water trends […]

  4. […] On dogs and water trends […]

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