Walk for dog guides a success 0
What a difference a day made.
Compared to the soggy conditions on Saturday, Sunday was near perfect for those who attended the Lions Foundation of Canada 27th annual Purina Walk for Dog Guides, held in Petawawa Sunday afternoon.
The walk, hosted by the Pembroke/ Petawawa Lions Club, attracted nearly two dozen walkers and their dogs, and raised more than $2,500 and counting for the cause of paying for the training of guide dogs. They walked from the Lions Club building on Victoria Street to Centennial Park and back, in time for a barbecue.
Judy Lamarche, co-organizer of the event, said all of the money raised goes to the training of dog guides, which costs up to $20,000 each.
"I want to thank everyone for coming today," she said shortly before the start of the walk, taking care to point out all of the members of the Pembroke Petawawa Lions Club who were there to support the effort.
"The money raised here, we do get it back locally," she said.
One of their guests was Lawrence Symons, who received Ricky, a Lions Foundation Dog Guide.
He explained each dog guide starts off as a pup, however, a professional trainer teaches the animal specific skills so that one day that dog can help someone with a disability. The dog guides help in five areas: canine vision, hearing ear, special skills, seizure response and autism assistance.
"Ricky has meant for me my life," he said, as the dog gives him the freedom to get out and about without fear of the unknown.
Lions International covers all the costs to train and care for the dog, which comes with a price tag of $20,000 to $25,000. The dogs are owned by the Lions Foundation, and when the dogs are retired, usually between the age of eight and 10 they are given back to the foundation, who places them in a home to live out their days.
Mr. Symons isn't the only resident to need a guide dog. Austin Ingram, also of Petawawa, is 10 and visually impaired. While still to young to date to be paired with a guide dog, he has applied in order to be added to the waiting list. He raised $366, presenting it on Sunday.
Since 1983, the foundation has operated Dog Guides Canada to provide specially trained dog guides to more than 1,000 men, women and children ages eight to 84.
The foundation covers all dog guides and required training, including transportation and accommodation, which are offered at no charge to the client.
Ms. Lamarche said the foundation does not receive any government funding, relying solely on donations and fundraising events like this walk.
Stephen Uhler is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist