It was a dog day afternoon of raising funds to support a great need.
The Ponoka Lions Club hosted their fourth annual Purina Walk for Dog Guides at Centennial Park on Sunday, May 29 and collared nearly $3,800 that will go toward paying for specially trained guide dogs for people with physical or medical disabilities.
Dixie Tyndall and Peggy Mouck were the co-chairs for the event this year which, along with the dog walk, also encompassed a youth fishing derby at the park’s pond and a demonstration by the Canadian Search and Disaster Dog Association (CASDDA).
Mouck explained they raised somewhat less than last year, though the number of fishing derby entrants was down while the number of registered walkers was about the same.
The walk is organized nationally to support the Lions Foundation of Canada’s training school and breeding program for guide dogs, stated Tyndall, which provides guide or support animals for several different needs.
Those include guide dogs for the blind or visually impaired, hearing ear guide dogs for the deaf or hard of hearing, autism assistance dogs for families with children ages three to 12 diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, service (formerly known as special skills) guide dogs to assist those with disabilities due to physical or medical conditions perform tasks they are unable to do, seizure response dogs that can provide a pre-alert to an oncoming epileptic episode and, the newest category, a diabetic alert dog that can alert a Type 1 diabetic to an possible hypoglycemic event.
Tyndall added everyone of these guide dogs allows the client to have a great feeling of safety and independence, while also giving them more confidence that allows them to be more engaged in daily life outside their homes.
There was also a special guest the Lions Club welcomed to open this year’s walk – Bev Irwin from Calgary, who suffered a serious brain bleed back in January 2015.
“There are times that an event such as the one we have here to raise funds so that people in need of guide dogs can get them and make their lives so much for the better,” she stated.
“And then, this event can help people in other ways. (Bev Irwin) was in hospital for an extended length of time. When going through rehab, she needed to set goals for herself, the biggest goal was to be well enough to participate in this walk. I am very pleased to say Bev was able to be here and take part in the walk as well as cut the ribbon to begin our walk.”