Woman’s Day (Australia)
These amazing dogs are saving lives and travelling cross-country
When Ben Scott first told his family he planned to walk the length of Australia, from Sydney to Darwin, they didn’t believe him.
“There have been lots of times I’ve started things and not followed them through,” Ben, 28, tells Woman’s Day.
“My family thought I was mad but I instinctually felt
I’d found something that was the right thing for me.” Ben was hoping the walk would help him overcome the drug addiction he’d spiralled into over the previous two years. He had decided not to enter a rehabilitation clinic as they wouldn’t let him bring his beloved dog Frankie. “I couldn’t leave him behind,” he says. Instead Ben decided to change his environment. He set himself an incredible task – to walk from one end of the country to the other while raising funds for a charity he hopes will one day fund a rehabilitation facility that accepts patients’ pets. Ben’s charity is Walk2recovery and with truckloads of grit and determination he set out from Newtown, Sydney on December
The first few weeks were gruelling. “I did a
52km stint one day to Orange and I was wrecked for a few days after that, but then Frankie and
I got really fit. I think once we hit Bourke, 1000km in, my family were like, ‘Wow, he’s doing it!’ After that the furthest I walked in 24 hours was 100km.”
Ben pushed a buggy with all his kit, including a tent, food and water, and when Frankie got tired he hopped in, too.
“He was living his best life,” Ben laughs. “He got to walk and camp and chase stuff in the bush. There was one scary moment when he disappeared after a kangaroo and came back super-hot but he was OK.”
Ben found he felt better with every kilometre. “I developed my strength again,” he says.
After 180 days and 4073km, Ben rolled into Darwin, where his family had flown to meet him and celebrate.
“It was emotional,” he says. “We raised a few thousand for the charity and I’m focused on that now. When it’s off the ground I’d love to walk again. I love the adventure and it’s a great way to raise awareness. Frankie’s keen, too!”
‘Frankie was living his best life. I developed my strength’