She did it.
Cynthia Todd, 66, of Ahwatukee not only walked 61 miles in three days but raised $1,500 for the Arizona Humane Society’s efforts to promote the adoption of senior animals.
“For the most part, things went really well and it was an enjoyable, enriching time for me,” said Todd, who decided to do the walk after the loss of her own aging and special-needs Shih Tzu named Gizmo, whose various ills and pains forced Todd to put him down at age 13 ½.
“I just have a really, really special place in my heart for dogs, and any animal going through a hard time,” she said. “This is my tribute to Gizmo.”
Gizmo was a 2004 Christmas present from her husband, Bill.
“Gizmo was a puppy mill dog and was probably taken from his mother too soon. When I got him, he was so tiny he fit in my hand and weighed about half a pound. He didn’t get a good start in life, but I knew he had needs and I was okay with that, but I sometimes wondered what would happen to him if I passed away first,” she said.
Following the death of her husband in 2011, Todd moved to Ahwatukee to be closer to her son, real estate broker Ben Quillinan. She is now employed part-time as field service manager at her daughter-in-law’s Ahwatukee real estate company, Rachel Richards Realty.
About the only problem Todd encountered was on the second day of her walk.
“The weather couldn’t have cooperated more perfectly,” she said. “The one glitch was one of my big toenails, which had become dark and inflamed. It was tough to sleep because any movement sent serious shots of pain through my toe.”
Though she wondered “how I was going to pull off day three,” Todd never thought of giving up.
“I would have crawled if I had to,” she said. “As it turned out, I remembered the sheep’s wool one of my fellow hikers on the Camino had given me when I developed a serious inflammation on another toe. I had some left, so I covered the toe with it and held it in place with a Band Aid. It worked really well and there was minimal pain.”
Todd admitted that “the final five miles were grueling.”
“I guess it was like hitting a wall during a marathon,” she said. “Every fraction of a mile was hard and tedious. So, I diverted to Starbucks and the Americano I bought there really saw me through.”
Todd said she’s “happy and grateful” for the sponsors who made donations for her walk.
And despite that toe, she even bested her own goal of walking 60 miles in three days with “one extra mile for good measure.”
“This has been quite an experience for me, through which I’ve learned and grown in many ways,” Todd added.
Checks can still be mailed to Mary Hetrick, Arizona Humane Society, 1521 W. Dobbins Road, Phoenix, AZ 85041. All donations should be made on or before March 15.