Every year in May Grand Bend dog lovers and their pooches converge at Lions Park to walk in support of the Lion Foundation of Canada’s Pet Valu Walk For Dog Guides.
Due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions the annual fundraising walk will be held virtually for the second consecutive year but there are still ways to participate.
People can register for the May 30th event online as a walker or as a team.
Whether by jogging, walking, biking or just dancing, registered participants can log the distance they’ve travelled manually or with a fitness device and publish results to their account.
This year The Lions Foundation of Canada is hoping to raise 1.3 million and log 5,514 kilometres (the equivalent of the length of Canada).
The national fundraising walk is held in approximately 300 communities across Canada.
It raises funds and awareness for Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides, a national training school for guide dogs. Though donations can be made throughout the year the event is the organization’s largest fundraiser.
The dog guide training program began in 1980s. The national training school was initially established to train dogs to assist visually impaired Canadians.
It has since grown to include assisting people with hearing impairments, autism, seizures, diabetes and to give comfort to victims of tragedies or witnesses of crimes.
The cost of training and fostering a single dog until it is ready to be placed with someone is $35,000. The Lions Foundation of Canada doesn’t receive government funding and provides these dogs at no cost to Canadians who qualify.
“There’s a lot of people out there who need a guide dog but if you have to buy one they don’t have the funds to buy one,” said Margaret Steadman, secretary of the West Coast Lions Club of Grand Bend.
One hundred people turned out for the last in-person walk and Steadman said that with all the changes Grand Bend has seen since then she’s hopeful that next year’s in-person event will be bigger than ever.
To register as a walker or to donate, visit https://www.dogguides.com/donate