As the month of May winds down, the Sylvan Lake and District Lions Club is encouraging residents to head out and support Dog Guides in Sylvan Lake. The Sylvan Lake and District Lions Club will be hosting a Walk For Dog Guides, to raise awareness of – and funds for – the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guide Program.
“It’s a promotional event done in over 200 communities across Canada to help promote what the Lions Foundation of Canada does to support the Dog Guide Program,” said Suzann Leshchyshyn, Organizer Walk for Dog Guides with the Sylvan Lake and District Lions Club.
“We, as a Lions Club, are supporting that by holding a walk in Sylvan Lake,” said Leshchyshyn, who added that this walk will be the fourth one to be hosted in Sylvan Lake.
The walk will take place on May 28, at at the Sylvan Lake Dog Park, between the Memorial Trail and 60 St. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m., followed by opening ceremonies at 11:00 a.m. The walking starts at 11:30 a.m., “and once everybody is back from a roughly thee kilometre walk, we will give prizes out and have a barbecue on site – things like that,” noted Leshchyshyn.
Leshchyshyn noted that two individuals who are assisted by Dog Guides will be present at the walk, as well.
“We’re just trying to build more awareness of [the program]. It surprisingly has been around for 30 years, but is still relatively unknown,” said Leshchyshyn.
A press release from the Lions Foundation noted that Dog Guides help Canadians with disabilities maintain significant levels of independence – these include residents of Sylvan Lake.
The release stated that while there is no registration fee for the walk, donations are encouraged from those who are participating. The entirety of funds raised go toward the Dog Guides program.
“The Dog Guides program is available, free of charge, to individuals in Canada with medical or physical disabilities. By raising awareness and funds, it will make money more available for individuals in need.”
According to the release, Dog Guides cost approximately $25,000 to raise and train. The Lions Foundation relies exclusively on fundraising and donations to run the program. The program entails the training of six different kinds of Dog Guide – Canine Vision Dog Guides; Hearing Ear Dog Guides; Dog Guides for people with medical or physical disabilities; Seizure Response Dog Guides;Autism Assistance Dog Guides and Diabetic Alert Dog Guides.