By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
The Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides provides expertly-trained canines for people with physical and mental disabilities at no cost, and an upcoming fundraising effort looks to keep it that way.
The Pet Valu Walk for Dog Guides on May 28 at Lakeview Park looks to raise money for the cause, with all funds going towards the six programs Lions Foundation operates for guide dogs.
“The goal of the walk is to raise as much money as possible for Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides so that we can continue to provide these dogs to the clients at no cost whatsoever,” says Faith Mepham, the organizer of the Oshawa event.
The Lions Foundation trains dogs to assist those with hearing and vision problems, as well as service animals for seizure response, autism assistance and diabetic alert.
The Oshawa walk is one of 240 across the country and also looks to find individuals interested in raising and training the dogs.
“The end result is placing a dog with a client,” Mepham says.
Mepham, born with spina bifida, uses a wheelchair to get around and gets help from her service dog to open doors and pick things up off the ground. Mepham also organized the walk when it was last in Oshawa in 2015.
“We have so many service dogs in Oshawa, believe it or not,” she says. “I think it’s important to have a walk out this way as well as other places.”
The event is open to all people and dogs, though the latter must be on leashes. The walk will be from two to five kilometres with registration starting at 9 a.m. and the walk beginning at 10 a.m.