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Phil's walk

Their canal walk in Phil's words. 

I've enjoyed canal walks since being introduced to the Coventry / Oxford canal by my Dad when I was about seven  years old. Returning from one long walk  (via a thumbed lift back to Coventry) alstory of hl those years ago he said, "We must have walked half the way to Oxford". That had stuck in my head and I'd always had the intention after that of walking down the canal to Oxford. 

I met Spike at the RSPCA Coventry & Nuneaton Shelter in September 2010. He was around eighteen months old at this time and had been a long term resident. When I explained that I was looking for a dog that needed  plenty of exercise and would enjoy long walks the staff were very keen to push Spike. 

The shelter which was Spike's former home caters for approximately one thousand animals a year with running costs of around £400,000. This works out at £400 per animal per year. As Spike had lived there for about a year it seemed that a sponsored walk with Spike along the canal would keep him happy for a week, achieve one of my modest ambitions and also allow him to pay back board owed for a year's lodgings and care! So the target was to raise £400 for the shelter. 

We set of on our first section of the walk on Saturday 12th July to include a detour to take in an event in Coventry city centre with the collecting tin. 

This diversion paid off with £58 raised in donations. As it was a very hot day and ahead of schedule (I had originally planned to start on the following Monday) we just covered a couple of miles to Swan Lane where we would continue early on Sunday morning. 

We completed the walk over the week taking in sections varying from 10 to 18 miles each day. On top of pledges already made ahead of the walk we received donations along the way - sometimes having to try and catch coins from passing boaters before losing them to the canal. In the end we had more than doubled my original target.

Despite the 83 miles a fitter, sleeker Spike was still excited at the rattle of his lead the next morning!

I've held on to an RSPCA collecting tin to accompany us on future walks so that Spike can continue to do his bit for the animals at his old home.