Nothing beats a day at the dog park.
On Sunday the Sylvan Lake and District Lions Club held their annual Purina Walk for Guide Dogs at the dog park on Memorial Trail and 60 Street.
The event, which raised just under $3,000 this year, attracted several members of the community and their furry friends – all with the goal to help raise money to support those in need of guide dogs across Canada.
Diane Ireland, a resident of Norglenwold, was one of those community members.
“I wanted to support the community, animals and the people that need guide dogs,” she said “This helps. Every little penny helps.”
She added that the guide dogs are “beautiful high-strung animals that make all the difference in peoples lives.”
There are six types of guide dogs that are trained at the Lions’ Club School for dogs, according to Suzanne Leshchyshyn, Lions Club member and the organizer of the walk. These include vision, hearing, seizure response, diabetic alert, autism and special skills.
Each of these types of dog cost more then $10,000 to be trained and matched, according to Leshchyshyn.
“We want people to be more aware that this program is out there because it is run entirely on donation,” she explained.
The program has been running for over 31 years and has raised over $10,000 in the three years that it has been in Sylvan Lake. The program provides guide dogs for people who need them free of charge.
One of the individuals who was provided a guide dog was Don Scorah who lost his sight after a motor vehicle in the 1980’s.
“He is my lifeline,” Scorah said. “Enzo and I are matched up because I am a very fast walker.”
After being matched, Don was told that poodles do not bond as readily as other breeds but, to the surprise of the Foundation, after two days — Don and Enzo were inseparable.
“He just frees up my life,” he said. “I live alone with Enzo and I have different programs that I am involved with. “He has opened my life so I can do that stuff.”
Enzo’s intelligence continues to amaze Scorah daily.
“This guy is so smart. If I say ‘find a washroom’, he finds me a washroom. If I say ‘find me a garbage can’, he’ll find me a garbage can,” Scorah said.
He added that Enzo also keeps him safe by checking both ways at traffic lights. Although the foundation says they are unable to do so, Scorag explained Enzo can tell when the traffic light is green.
After the accident, Scorah said he had a hard adjustment but with Enzo he “doesn’t even think about not being able to see.”
If you would like more information on either the Purina Walk for Guide Dogs or on more information about the Guide Dog program, you can visit the Lions Club national website or speak with any Lions club member.
Leshchyshyn added that next years walk date will be set very soon and that she is thankful to everyone who has participated in some way to make this event possible.
Todd Colin Vaughan