As part of a national fundraising campaign, the Voyageur Lions and the Fort High Leo Club are planning their second “Purina Walk for Dog Guides” here Sunday, June 3.
And with less than a month to go, organizers are focusing on getting people to register, collect pledges prior to the walk, and then come out with their four-legged friends that Sunday.
Registration forms are available are various locations around town, including the Nor-West Animal Clinic, Canada Safeway, Gillons’ Insurance, and Wal-Mart.
Participants also can register online at www.purinawalkfordogguides.com
“We know there are [people] registering online. I’m not sure how many yet, but we’re hoping to increase the number from last year,” said Fort High teacher Kendall Richardson, who also is the advisor for the Leo Club.
Last year’s dog guide walk here had about 15 registered walkers and raised around $1,200.
The local walk will start at 1 p.m. at Pither’s Point, proceed to the Sorting Gap Marina, and then head back.
There will be refreshments and lunch for participants afterwards, as well as contests for dogs and their owners.
Participants will get pledges prior to the walk, then will be eligible for prizes such as shirts and hats depending how much money they bring in.
Richardson said Leo Club members are canvassing local businesses for prizes for the guide dog walk, and that business owners should be aware of the good cause if any Leo members approach them asking for donations.
Pledges also can be made online at www.purinawalkfordogguides.com
Any pledges over $20 will get a tax receipt.
All of the proceeds from the walk will go to the national Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides program.
Something new this year is the fact nearly 130 dog walk locations across Canada have partnered with Wal-Mart, bringing several new aspects to the national fundraiser, including the one here.
With Wal-Mart on board as a partner this time around, the walk will see some support. For instance, during the month of May, all Wal-Mart store cashiers will be selling Lions Foundation of Canada Purina Walk for Dog Guides logos for $1 each, with all proceeds going to the cause.
As well, in partnership with Purina, $1 from the sale of every eight-kg bag of Purina Dog Chow during the month of May will be donated to the Lions Foundation of Canada Purina Walk for Dog Guides.
If you have any questions, visit www.purinawalkfordogguides.com or call Richardson at 274-7524.
Funding for dog guide training is 100 percent obtained from donations and no government funding is received. Dog Guides Canada already has provided their specially-trained dog guides to more than 1,200 men, women, and children.
All dog guides are provided to eligible candidates at no cost.
Dog guides help the blind, hearing-impaired, and those with other physical disabilities (like people in wheelchairs). They are trained to aid them in their daily lives and get help for them if a problem arises.
A dog guide means increased mobility, safety, and independence to people who have lived with a disability for a long time or whose lives suddenly have changed due to an accident or illness.
The Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides has been serving Canadians with disabilities since 1983. It raises most of its puppies and places them in foster homes for their first year.
Once mature, the dogs are selected and trained for six-eight months, which then is followed by recipients staying at the Foundation for two-four weeks to be matched and learn how to work with their new dog guide partners.
All of the formal training, residences, and administration are based in the Foundation’s Oakville, Ont. headquarters. There also are puppy and training facilities in Breslau, Ont.
It takes time—and money—to raise, train, and place a highly-skilled dog guide.
From learning basic house manners to honing the skills required of them in service can take up to two years and cost as much as $25,000.