Bay Roberts walk to help raise money to train guide dogs
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.