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Purina Walk for Dog Guides coming on Sunday, May 31

May 20, 2015   ·   0 Comments

Each year across Canada, thousands of people gather to participate in the Purina Walk for Dog Guides to benefit the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides. The program, which provides service dogs to assist people with disabilities in six categories (vision, seizure response, hearing, physical, autism and diabetes), does so at no cost to the recipient. But the cost to breed, train and deliver each dog is expensive, at $25,001 per dog.

“That cost covers everything beginning to end – from breeding, to training the dog and training the owner at the facility,” explained Joanne Gilewski, who helps to organize the Orangeville walk.

Last year, two separate local walks held by the Amaranth Lions Club, raised a combined total of $23,000 – almost enough to cover the cost of a single dog. The walk draws in more than just people affected by the need of a service dog, but dog lovers from throughout the community as well.

“The need for service dogs is growing, not just locally, but right across Canada, and with that we’ve seen the walk growing as well,” said Ms. Gilewski. “This is our sixth year doing the walk in Orangeville, and we’ve just seen it mushroom and grow bigger and bigger each year.”

The Orangeville walk, which will be held at the Alder Street recreation centre on Sunday, May 31, has grown beyond just a walk into a full-fledged event. This year, participants will have the opportunity to shop in the All Things Doggie Fair and place bids in a silent auction.

“We get a lot of support for the program across the community,” said Ms. Gilewski. “There are so many local dog lovers and businesses who are always willing to help.”

Throughout the event, local dog businesses will give demonstrations of grooming and nail-clipping, and vets will be present to answer questions, as well as the TPOC Therapy Dogs.

The walks are important because the Lions Foundation receives no funding from the government to provide service dogs, despite the benefits and assistance these dogs have proven for those with long-term disabilities. That means the program is funded entirely from donations, and because of that, assistance can be limited and wait-lists can be long.

This year, the Amaranth Lions are hoping that the Orangeville walk will be able to raise $25,001 to cover the cost of at least one dog for someone in need.

“We’re a little nervous, because this year we are just having the one walk, but we are confident that we can do it,” said Ms. Gilewski.

Anyone interested in participating in the walk can register online and collect pledges electronically, or simply show up for the walk and make a donation. People are invited to walk with or without a dog, and enjoy the journey through the west end trails as well as time at the event.

Registration will begin at 10:00 a.m. on May 31, and the walk will start at 10:00. For more information on the walk, or to register, visit www.purinawalkfordogguides.com and click on the link for the Orangeville Walk, or contact Joanne Gilewski at the Amaranth Lions Club by phone at 519-941-1633 or by email at amaranthlionsclub @yahoo.com.

         

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