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Lions help guide way with canine companions

By June 7, 2024No Comments
Taylor Weaver Meridian Source


“There’s a lady in Lloydminster whose dog helps her with her diabetes. Her dog alerts her when her sugar levels are about to drop, so she’s now able to go back to work thanks to the dog. She’s a member of society again and has that freedom back.”

That’s how Brandy Stangowitz, manager at Pet Valu, explained the importance of last Sunday morning’s Walk for Guide Dogs, in partnership with the Lions Club of Canada.

The walk, organized by Pet Valu, took place at Bud Miller All Season Park with all proceeds supporting the Lions of Canada Dog Guide School in Oakville, Ont.

“With the guide dogs of Canada, Pet Valu is a national sponsor and we feed all of the guide dogs of Canada,” said Stangowitz, noting Pet Valu also covers the cost of vet checks for dogs-in-training. 

“Locally, Pet Valu raises funds to train guide dogs. On average, it costs roughly $30K to train a dog, and these dogs are given to recipients at no cost to them.”

Ray Tatro, outgoing president of the local Lions, explained this is the first year the club partnered with Pet Valu, noting the relationship is invaluable considering the effect service dogs have on their handlers.

“There are seven different kinds of dogs coming through the Lions dog guide school,” he said. “It started with sight dogs and worked into hearing, service (for those with medical or physical disabilities), Autism assistance, diabetes alert, seizure response, and facility support (trauma support).

“Guide dogs are life-changing for recipients and there are approximately 200 dogs in Alberta and Saskatchewan that have come through the school.”

Tatro also noted construction on a new $50M training facility has begun in Oakville to help accommodate the need for guide dogs.