Pawsitive Steps towards Mental Health Walk, Castle Hill

Pawsitive reinforcement: Stepping out this weekend will be Doctors Daya Howpage and Padmini Howpage, with Coco, and Lydia Tang and Dr Bob Craig, with Charlie. Picture: Gene Ramirez

Pawsitive reinforcement: Stepping out this weekend will be Doctors Daya Howpage and Padmini Howpage, with Coco, and Lydia Tang and Dr Bob Craig, with Charlie. Picture: Gene Ramirez

Sunday's Pawsitive Steps towards Mental Health Walk includes 10 fitness stations for you to test your Super Hero strength.

"Superdogs and Superheroes" is the theme of The Hills Council's Paws in the Park event, of which this walk is a part.

Both events are at Castle Hill Showground.

Pawsitive Steps founder, psychiatrist Padmini Howpage will walk with her pet pooch, Coco Chanel, and hopes to meet other puppies, dogs and their humans on the course.

"He brings me enormous happiness," she said of Coco.

Celebrity animal trainer Peta Clarke will also be there with her stories about training dogs and other animals for Legally Blonde — The Musical, Babe, Wolverine and Superman Returns, as well as theatre productions and TV advertisements.

Dr Howpage started Pawsitive Steps in 2011 to highlight the message "good mental health is facilitated by pets and exercise", and provide people access to mental health information.

"The idea was to get all of the services that provide mental health in the area into one spot," said Dr Howpage of Carlingford-based specialist psychiatric service, Mind Connections.

She said it struck her that majority of people did not have a clue where to find these services, of which there are about 50 in The Hills.

Eight mental health services will provide information and fun activities after this year's walk.

Proceeds will go to St Vincent de Paul's Compeer friendship program which matches volunteers with socially-isolated adults living with a mental illness.

Event details

■ Pawsitive Steps, 9am-9.30am. The Hills Leos to provide puppy minding at each fitness station. Details: http://mentalhealthspecialists.com.au, under ‘‘Pawsitive Steps’’.

■ Paws in the Park, 10am-2.30pm, includes a Superheroes dress-up competition, agility dog association display, flyball, treibball, police dogs. Details: http://thehills.nsw.gov.au.

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