As part of a national fundraising campaign, the Voyageur Lions and the Fort High Leo Club are planning their fifth “Purina Walk for Dog Guides” here this Sunday (May 30) at Pither’s Point Park.
Intended to raise money for the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides training facility in Oakville, Ont., the walk gets underway at 1 p.m., with registration starting at noon.
Leaving from Pither’s Point Park, participants will walk along the La Verendrye Parkway to the Sorting Gap Marina and then back, where the top fundraiser and prize winners will be announced.
“Everything is pretty much in place for the walk,” said Voyageur Lion Kendall Richardson, who also is the teacher advisor for the Leo Club.
“The only thing we can’t pre-arrange is the weather,” she noted. “If the weather is miserable, please listen to the radio or contact the number on the pledge forms and posters for an update [274-7524].
“We will then provide information on if the walk is postponed, cancelled, or a shorter route may be used.”
The special guest walker this year will be local resident Wayne Lundstrom, and his vision dog, “Sammy.”
Lundstrom, who just graduated from the Oakville training centre in February, said he will be proud to lead the pack, adding the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides school is a great cause.
He said “Sammy” has changed his life for the better since he got her earlier this year, although there’s been a bit of a learning curve.
“It’s different. You have to plan when you go out,” Lundstrom explained. “But it’s an improvement. It’s therapeutic.
“She makes it more interesting when you go out,” he chuckled. “She’ll find animals—squirrels, birds, bugs, and stuff—things you don’t even pay attention to when you’re by yourself.”
Lundstrom encouraged people to come out Sunday and help support the cause.
He added he recently decided to join the Fort Frances Voyageur Lions.
“I wanted to do something for the community, as well,” he explained.
“I am very excited that we have a community member who has been able to obtain a guide dog,” said Richardson.
“It is great to see the results of a national event have an impact on a local level.”
Richardson said anyone is encouraged to pick up a pledge form and take part in Sunday’s walk.
“We have walkers who have participated every year and we have new walkers each year,” she noted.
“We welcome walkers who wish to walk without a pet or in honour of a lost pet or friend in need.”
Pledge forms and information are available at Pharmasave, Lidkea Optometry Services, Nirvana, Northwoods Gallery & Gifts, Howarth’s Home Centre, Safeway, and the Nor-West Animal Clinic.
“Again, 100 percent of all pledge money goes towards the training and provision of dog guides to Canadians in need,” stressed Richardson.
Last year, 20 registered walkers raised more than $2,400—double the amount raised in 2008.