Dog Guides are valuable companions for many people who have disabilities or need assistance in a variety of ways.
It takes a couple of years and around $35,000 to train a single dog before it is ready to be paired up with an individual.
The Lions Foundation of Canada Pet Valu Walk for Dog Guides raises funds so these dogs can be properly trained.
The walks are held across the country.
This year, the Alliston Lions Club will host their walk on Saturday, September 25, beginning at the Club’s home on Boyne Street in Alliston.
For the past two summers, the walk has been held virtually, but this year, it will be an in-person walk and the public is invited to take part and bring their dogs with them to walk the route.
“There are actually seven categories of dogs that help with different needs,” explained Alliston Lions Club member and chair of the Walk for Guide Dogs Jamie Karsch. “There’s one for hearing, there’s canine vision, service dogs, medic alert dogs, and autism assistance - which is typically for kids ages three to 12. The newest category is facility support. There are dogs that are trained for specific services like help getting on an escalator, pushing a button, opening a door, or stopping at crosswalks.”
Facility support dogs are trained to be in places like police stations and are used to help people who have been through a serious trauma. Many people who have been through traumatic events will take comfort with a friendly dog as a temporary companion during trying times.
Suitable dogs go into training while still a puppy and there are several stages of training that takes place.
After learning basic training, dogs are then moved into a more specialized field.
All the funds raised during the walk go directly to training the dog guides. Since 1983, the foundation has provided over 3,000 Dog Guides across Canada, that are placed with Canadians with a medical or physical disability at no cost.
The Foundation receives zero government funding and relies on the support of the public to continue to provide Dog Guides.
Registration for the Alliston walk will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 24, and the walk will start at 11:00 a.m.
You can learn more by visiting the website at www.walkfordogguides.com.
Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times