The Melita Lions Club held a Dog Walk & Poker Derby on Saturday, May 25, with proceeds going to the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides. While many purchased poker hands, 44 in total, 6 dog owners and their dogs as well as non-dog walkers, participated in the 2 km walk around Melita. Lucky poker hand winners were 1st Lillian Downey; 2nd Sheila Tilbury and 3rd Val Dobbyn. The Lions would like to extend their appreciation to all who donated, participated and attended one of their major fund raising projects.
Providing Dog Guides to Canadians with disabilities
In the early 1980’s Lions Clubs across Canada sought to develop a national project to refl ect their service to Canadians with visual impairments. The result was Lions Foundation of Canada and its founding program, Canine Vision Canada, which was established in 1985. Since then the Foundation has grown to include additional Dog Guide programs:
- Canine Vision for people who are blind or visually impaired
- Hearing for people who are deaf or hard of hearing
- Autism Assistance for children who have autism spectrum disorder
- Service for people who have a physical disability
- Seizure Response for people who have epilepsy
- Diabetic Alert for people who have type 1 diabetes with hypoglycemic unawareness
- Support for use by professional agencies with individuals in traumatic situations
Lions Foundation of Canada’s mission is to assist Canadians with a medical or physical disability by providing them Dog Guides at no cost. To do this, the Foundation operates Dog Guides Canada, a preeminent national training school and charity that assists individuals with disabilities through specialized Dog Guide programs. These Dog Guides are provided at no cost to eligible Canadians from coast to coast despite costing $25,000 to train and place. The Foundation relies on donations from individuals, service clubs, foundations and corporations and does not receive any government funding.
Now the largest school of its kind in Canada, Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides is located in Oakville and has a breeding and training facility in Breslau.
Lions Foundation of Canada trains Dog Guides to assist Canadians with a wide range of disabilities. With seven programs in place, Canadians with disabilities are offered the opportunity to fi nd greater independence, mobility and safety through the help of a Dog Guide.
Depending on the program, Dog Guides are trained to perform a set of basic skills that are useful to all handlers. However, some of their training is also tailored to meet the specifi c needs of their future handler. In the fi nal stage of training, the client and Dog Guide train and live together at the Oakville facility for two to four weeks. This helps to ensure that the new working team develops a bond and prepares them for their next step - returning home.