Despite the cloudy skies and rain, the annual “Purina Walk for Dog Guides” organized by the Fort Frances Voyageur Lions Club here this past Sunday ended up being a success, organizers said.
The event, which is held across Canada to raise funds for the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides training school in Oakville, Ont., brought in about $2,000, including $1,047 in individual pledges, along with monetary donations from Dr. Dan Pierroz of the Nor-West Animal Clinic, the Ear Clinic Inc., and the Voyageur Lions.
Club member Kendall Richardson said it’s also possible that more pledge money still will be delivered from those deterred by the weather.
Arrangements for the drop-off of outstanding donations can be made through herself or club treasurer Val Martindale.
The top individual fundraisers this year were Clifford Hatfield ($144), Donna Rogers ($130), and Olivia DeBenedet ($113).
The fundraiser saw 16 pledged participants go around the track at Pither’s Point Park, with Wayne Lundstrom and his dog guide “Sammy,” who graduated from the Oakville training centre back in February, leading the way.
“We had a few walkers without a dog or sharing a dog,” noted Richardson.
“We were pleased to see the walkers of various ages, their families walking, as well as new and repeat walkers from previous years,” she added.
“It was great to see Wayne out with his vision assistance dog at the walk.
“I felt that things went as well as possible considering the weather, but it is almost impossible to reschedule due to the amount of events going on at this time of year,” Richardson continued.
“I am very happy about the support of the community for this event.
“I did feel that the event was rushed as we had to shorten the walk due to the weather, but it was still a good time for many involved.”
Richardson said certificates will be mailed out to all the walk participants.
“It was not possible to get them done in the rain without ruining them, so we decided to mail them out,” she explained.
Richardson stressed the walk couldn’t happen without the support of sponsors, which provided monetary donations, prizes, dog treats, and food and beverages for participants, and use of a sound system for the walk.
“We encourage Voyageur Lions Club members, friends, and the general public to shop locally as events such as these cannot exist without local sponsorship,” she remarked.
“I am also thankful for Purina’s donation of loot bag materials, and the Lions Foundation of Canada for covering all administrative costs so that 100 percent of pledge money goes towards the training and provision of service dogs,” noted Richardson.
This was the Voyageur Lions Club’s fifth year for hosting a walk in Fort Frances, with Richardson saying the club hopes this continues on.