While the number of dogs and walkers was lower from previous years, the enthusiastic canines had a hard time sitting still for a group photo at the annual Ponoka Lions Walk for Dog Guides on May 27 at Centennial Park. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Ponoka Lions host sixth annual Walk for Dog Guides

Event designed to raise funds to help pay for specialized training

Any amount brought in helps and that’s what makes this fundraiser successful in the end.

Centennial Park was the scene for the sixth annual Ponoka Lions/Pet Valu Walk for Dog Guides May 27, which raises money for costs to specially train dog guides for people with physical or medical disabilities.

The amount raised this year wasn’t immediately available, but with the hot, dry weather and many other activities going on, the number of walkers and people in the park were down from previous years. Last year across Canada, nearly $1.5 million was raised.

Dixie Tyndall, one of the event organizers for the Ponoka Lions Club, noted the walk still gets plenty of support from the community despite some people not being able to attend.

“It’s still great to see the number of people and their dogs come out. However, there are some that make donations and raise funds that can’t make it, but are still a big part of why this continues to be successful,” she said.

In addition to the walk, the fundraiser included a hot dog lunch (by donation) along with a 50/50 and a raffle draw for various donated prize packages from a number of community groups, individuals and businesses to along with a couple of children’s activities.

And, as has been the case for the last few years, there was a demonstration provided by the Canadian Search and Disaster Dog Association (CASDDA) with several dogs and their handlers showcasing their search and rescue techniques.

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 dog guides for the blind or visually impaired, hearing ear dog guides 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) dog guides 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.

 

Dixie Tyndall, left, cut the ribbon to start the sixth annual Lions Walk for Dog Guides at Centennial Park May 27. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

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