Christine Pidruchney with her dog Odie at the 2016 Dog Walk in Vermilion. Photo Marie Conboy.
On May 28, you can join Canadians from over 240 communities by participating in the Lions 'Walk For Dog Guides' at the Vermilion Provincial Park Cookhouse at 1 p.m.
Since 1985, the Lions 'Walk for Dog Guides' has raised over $14 million making it the Lions Foundation’s largest annual fundraising event. One hundred per cent of the funds raised goes towards the training and placement of Dog Guides for Canadians as service dogs and for those with disabilities including vision impairment, hearing loss, diabetes, epileptic seizures, and autism.
James Cryderman initiated the walk in Vermilion in 2005 in memory of his dogs, Oilke and Chucky. He mentioned that it takes $25,000 to train a dog for the guide dog program.
Pet Value is the title sponsor of the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides Program, and with the help of community donations, they can continue completing their mission of changing the lives of those in need. The confidence that people gain with a guide dog allows them to pursue education, careers, and activities in their community. According to Lions, Dog Guides Canada has already provided their specially trained Dog Guides to more than 2,000 men, women and children from ages 4 to 88, without any government funding.
The walk will be pet-friendly, but you don’t have to bring a dog to participate; it simply provides an opportunity to be out in the community walking with friends, family, or coworkers. All ages and abilities are welcome, and it is not necessary to complete the route to participate!
According to Vermilion Lions, Cold Lake resident, Janell, was extremely grateful to receive her Canine Vision Dog Guide named Fenway. They added that because of people’s generous donations, Janell was able to have the support she needed to feel confident and be able to walk everywhere. With her guide dog, Janell was also able to go to college, work part-time, and even moved into her own home. Lions Foundation shows that Janell’s response was, “Having a dog has changed my life for the better, and it has done the same for many other people. It boosted my self-confidence and helped me gain my independence.”
Registration for Vermilion’s Walk For Dog Guides will begin at 1 p.m., with the walk beginning at 2 p .m. Hamburgers and hotdogs will be available, and several prizes will be awarded at the event. For more information or to find the Walk closest you, please visit www.walkfordogguides.com
“We would like to thank the counters, Michelle Yaceyko, Lori Carlson, and everyone for their donations including Cornerstone Vermilion Bulk Station, Karen’s Klassic Kuts, Vermilion Packers, Midwest Auto, and Dr. Richard Starke. I continue wanting to help because I know people in Vermilion struggling with vision problems (caused by Glaucoma), and there are all different kinds of dogs,” said Cryderman.
Last year, Justin Thompson attended the Dog Walk for the first time and said, “It was a really great experience with good people; dog owners and not. My dog was able to meet new friends, and I did as well (both two and four-legged). The park is always a great way to spend an afternoon.”