Bay Roberts walk to help raise money to train guide dogs

The Compass - - NEWS - BY DANIEL MACEACH­ERN

Your dogs might be bark­ing at the end of a walk in Bay Roberts next month, but a stom­ach rub and bowl of kib­ble should be enough to set things right.

The Pu­rina Walk for Dog Guides is an an­nual event - cel­e­brat­ing its 25th an­niver­sary this year - that raises aware­ness of and funds for the Lions Foun­da­tion of Canada Dog Guides in Oakville, Ont. The largest guide-dog school in Canada trains dogs in five dif­fer­ent ar­eas: vi­sion guides, for peo­ple who are blind or who have vi­sion prob­lems; hear­ing-ear guides, for peo­ple who are deaf or hard of hear­ing; spe­cial skills guides, for peo­ple with med­i­cal or phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties; seizure re­sponse guides, for epilep­tics; and autism-as­sis­tance guides for chil­dren with autism, a new ad­di­tion to the dog-guide fam­ily.

Natalie Mon­cur, pro­mo­tions co­or­di­na­tor for the Lions Foun­da­tion of Canada, said the five-kilo­me­tre Bay Roberts walk is one of about 200 across Canada this year.

“Peo­ple are def­i­nitely wel­come to bring dogs, fam­ily mem­bers or any­body out to en­joy the day,” she said, adding that it will be a leisurely walk. “More than just a walk, it’s an event, and we’re just try­ing to raise greater aware­ness of dog guides and help the pro­gram, be­cause we are grow­ing.”

All of the money raised will go di­rectly to the pro­gram, said Mon­cur. Walk­ers don’t need to pay a reg­is­tra­tion fee or bring money to par­tic­i­pate in the event, said Mon­cur, but do­na­tions will be ac­cepted. It costs about $20,000 to train a dog, she said, and noted they hope to raise $1 mil­lion across Canada this year. Last year the or­ga­ni­za­tion raised $800,000.

De­spite the fundrais­ing goal, Mon­cur said, walk or­ga­niz­ers de­cided not to at least put a reg­is­tra­tion fee on the event.

“ We want to en­cour­age peo­ple to par­tic­i­pate. I think that that’s (a reg­is­tra­tion fee) some­thing that some­times hin­ders re­sponse. It’s just a thing where you come out and you give what you can or you help to raise money, as much as you can, and you’re do­ing it be­cause you want to be there, just out of the good­ness of your heart. It’s a fam­ily event. It’s not any­thing com­pet­i­tive in terms of a race. It’s just sup­posed to be fun.”

Reg­is­tra­tion for the walk gets un­der­way Sun­day, May 30 at the Bay Roberts Lions Club at 10 a.m., with the walk it­self start­ing at 11 a.m.

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