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Doggedly determined to make a difference

For the fifth year in a row Elmira residents will join forces with their dogs to raise funds for the Purina Walk for Dog Guides.

Kicking off at the Kissing Bridge Trail at the Arthur Street North entrance on May 31, people of all ages will lace up their shoes and walk to Floradale Road and  back in support of the Woolwich Community Lions’ Club’s local effort to provide guide dogs to people with disabilities.

Nancy Booth, her granddaughter Camryn Booth, who has already started collecting pledges, and Bosco (aka ‘Bossey’) will be out to support the Purina Walk for Dog Guides on May 31.
Nancy Booth, her granddaughter Camryn Booth, who has already started collecting pledges, and Bosco (aka ‘Bossey’) will be out to support the Purina Walk for Dog Guides on May 31.

The initiative, which last year saw almost $6,000 raised locally, will take place in more than 180 communities across Canada participating in the Lions Foundation of Canada’s largest annual fundraiser.

Local event chair Nancy Booth said that after years of seeing its success, it was really easy to get involved again.

“It’s just so rewarding to know that you’ve helped somebody gain some independence in their life. I don’t think anyone appreciates it until they actually go to one of these graduation ceremonies and hear and see the people thanking the … people that have helped in the training of the dogs,” said Booth, adding that last year she met an individual from Toronto who was given a dog.

“He was just so grateful to gain some independence. He lives in downtown Toronto where this [seeing eye] dog has to be on top of everything,” she explained.

The cost of placing and training a dog guide is approximately $20,000. Eligible candidates are provided the animal – including all required training, travel and accommodation – at no cost.

Since 1983, Lions Foundation of Canada has placed hundreds of dog guides with clients, proving them with greater mobility, safety and independence. And since 1985, such walks in communities across Canada have collectively raised close to $6 million in support of dog guide training programs.

The walk takes place at 9 a.m. at the Kissing Bridge Trail in Elmira. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and is free. People of all fitness levels and ages, with or without dogs, are welcome to attend.

When participants return from their walk, hot dogs and refreshments as well as water for their dogs will be available. A prize table—everyone who participates can enter his or her name in a draw—is also planned.

For pledge sheets and more information visit www.purinawalkfordogguides.com or call 1-800-768-3030.

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