I am walking 106k 48 hours in July to raise money for the heros at ARC

My Story

The story

Last year, I spent some time volunteering in Phnom Penh for Animal Rescue Cambodia. Animal welfare is still at its infancy in Cambodia. Animals are often considered as a nuisance, food, or as property. There is a lack of knowledge and understanding about how to care for them, and consequently there are high rates of abuse and neglect and dogs and cats are often sold for meat.I was shell shocked at the relentless nature of animal suffering and cruelty and the small centre was inundated with animals who needed urgent medical help and care.

The cause

ARC's mission is to create sustainable animal welfare in Cambodia, and end suffering for Cambodian cats and dogs. They are committed to sustainable and long-lasting change in Cambodia, and work closely with local communities. They do this by:

  • tackling overpopulation through neutering programs,
  • educating local communities and schools about animal welfare
  • improving the quality of veterinary care through training.
  • Providing medical care for sick and injured animals
  • Running vaccination programmes for street cats and dogs
  • Campaigning to end the dog meat trade

The Challenge

Once I'd left, I couldn't stop thinking about ARC and the animals they help. They are my idols and my hero's. I committed to continuing to help them from across the globe, so to start, I will be fundraising by undertaking an ultra challenge on the Isle of White. I will be walking 106k over 48 hours in May 2020. Current level of endurance: legs hurt after 15k - so plenty of training required!!!

Thank you

ARC has touched my heart and I will never forget the sacrifices the staff there had made to support this cause. I worked with an incredible team of vets and animal care assistants, who continue to work around the clock in the most challenging conditions. But no one would have wanted to be anywhere else. Every action taken at ARC makes a huge difference to an animals life, most of who have never known anything else but suffering. If you can spare a couple of pounds to donate towards this cause, you will be helping to provide shelter, medical supplies, food, adoption programmes, community education and essential vaccinations for the animals. Thank you so much!

Read on for more insight into a day of volunteering at ARC


Alarm goes at 6am, ready for a completely unknown day ahead, which is why I love this so much. Have been up every 1 to 2 hours bottle feeding 1 week old kittens. They don't look like they are going to make it, but we will try anyway. I neck a load of coffee as I am expected to do at least 6 hours of hardcore cleaning throughout the day as well as visiting local pagodas to help with the TNR (trap neuter release programme)


Jump on a rented bicycle. The handle bars have repeatedly fallen off when riding to work in the morning in middle of the chaotic Cambodian election traffic. I have an old horse riding helmet for some reason. Starting to like the thrill of it and am get used to swerving across the road with my eyes closed, no rules, and traffic will generally go in the direction it fancies at the time. Dodge a man throwing a bucket of dead rats into the road.

Arrive at the shelter and start the day by running around the hospital section which houses up to 50 cats and dogs, as well as the adoption section housing around 20 cats and dogs. Two kittens came in yesterday who were lively but when I went into the nursery, one had sadly passed away. I cry for a couple of minutes. Move on as others need seeing to. I run down to the adoption centre as I remember that Julie a kitten needs daily physio, she was born with deformed bones in her paw (I scoffed when ARC founder, Tina, told me massaging her paw would help - but fast forward one month, you'd never know. Her fave game is leaping from surface to shoulders when you least expect)


Feeding time. Painful wrestle with 8 kittens using me like a tree to get physically into the fridge (that's where the chicken is). Takes about 1 hour to feed all animals and refresh the water. 

In between, an extremely distressed woman comes into the clinic having found a dog which a huge gash on his leg, probably due to a traffic collision. The amazing and talented vet comes to the rescue and he is given the care he needs. He will be adopted into a forever home.    


Now the dirty work starts. Every single cage needs to be cleaned with clinical strength disinfectant, so all cats need to be taken out (always have to watch out for 'Monkey' the little escape artist who squeezes through the bars and I have to chase her down the corridor), and put in individual holding crates. Cages cleaned, blankets changed, left over food thrown out. There can be no risk of cross contamination as this could potentially kill all animals at the shelter. All animals put back into their cages. In the meantime, medication is given for various illnesses, and prep for surgery starts. Usually around 5-10 neuters and spays take place. I then need to clean all of the holding crates (usually there are about 30) again to ensure no cross contamination. Completely used to being drenched in sweat and covered in whatever, I learnt to block it out on day 2.


Get changed and the best part of the day begins. The animals who have to spend a lot of time in isolation because there are recovering from illness/surgery, I try my best to give 1 on 1 attention. Ginger, a little cat who has been there since I started, I try to take out at least once a day onto the balcony so he can feel the sun and fresh air and we spend some time playing and just letting him be a kitten. He has been fighting for his life for a few weeks now. I just hope he felt how much he was loved in that time.


Just before afternoon feeding and cleaning time, we get a call from Tina to let us know we need to rescue a dog who has been tied up at a police station for days. Apparently he was injured due to being dragged along behind a motorbike by a man who wanted him for dog meat. We arrive and he is in a pitiful state, curled up under a table with flies buzzing around him, drag injuries and eye infections. I reach out to touch him and am worried he will bite, but he is so physically frozen in fear he wont even move his neck. He didn’t even growl. We wrap him up in a blanket whilst our Cambodian colleague gets the police to agree we can take him. Get him back to the shelter, give him a good bath, food, water and treat his injuries. We wrap him up warm in his kennel so he can start to rest, recover and feel safe. Operation Tail Wag begins. (You can now see a picture of him, in the gallery, as the organisation’s education ambassador for animal welfare)

Its now about 6pm and we are TIRED. I can’t even begin to think how the staff feel, who do this day in day out, 12 hours a day. We head back to our digs with 3 bottle feeding kittens in tow, ready to do it all again tomorrow..

Recent Donors

  • Kelly

    Well done Rachel!

    GBP 5 07/19/2021 02:48:07 PM UTC

  • Rachael Patching

    A donation to make up for the last 26k 😀

    USD 100 07/15/2021 11:23:31 AM UTC

  • Rob Young

    Congratulations Rachael, 80+ km is still a hell of an achievement!

    USD 15 07/15/2021 08:51:38 AM UTC

  • Adam Ferguson

    Well done Pauline Great achievement!

    GBP 5 07/12/2021 12:40:09 PM UTC

  • Darren Sanders

    GBP 15 07/12/2021 08:27:05 AM UTC

  • Amy and David

    Good luck Rachael!

    GBP 20 07/10/2021 07:11:02 AM UTC

  • Edwin Lock

    Good Luck. 🚶‍♀️🚶‍♂️ Hope a huge amount of money is raised for a good cause.

    GBP 10 07/09/2021 08:10:05 AM UTC

  • JANE Robinson

    These boots are made for walking … go girls. Xx

    GBP 20 07/09/2021 07:38:08 AM UTC

  • Alison Whitby

    Good luck :-)

    GBP 10 07/09/2021 07:16:15 AM UTC

  • Nina Shuttlewood

    Good luck from the Shuttlewood gang!

    GBP 20 07/08/2021 04:35:21 PM UTC

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