YORKTON – About 15 people and several dogs braved the rain on Sunday morning to participate in the Pet Valu Walk for Dog Guides at Logan Green Park.
"[The Lions Foundation of Canada] runs a service guide dog program and it's out of Oakville, Ontario – but people from all over the country can benefit from one of their dogs if they need the dog," said Charlene Izuka, organizer for the event.
"They do the walk to raise funds because the average cost of one of these dogs is $35,000 with no cost to the recipient," said Izuka.
"They receive no Government funding, so fundraisers like this are vital to aiding someone in receiving their much-needed service dog," said Izuka of the guide dog program, noting, "they are a fully accredited facility with the International Federation of Dog Guide schools and assist in Dog Guide International."
Izuka said she lives with Multiple-Sclerosis and that her dog Fido is important to her day-to-day life.
"I have multiple sclerosis – I also fall quite often and I can have seizures – so he alerts to me for my safety – he alerted to me yesterday that he [sensed] something [wasn't] right in me, at which point I was able to sit down and make sure that I'm not going to fall, I'm going to be ok."
Izuka said she was happy with the turnout for the inaugural event.
"This is the first time that we're doing it here and we want to make it an annual event," said Izuka.
"The plan was to do two laps around – so we'll see how everybody feels after one," said Izuka, adding, "it's a 5 km walk which is pretty ambitious in the rain."
"I would just like to thank everybody that's come out and joined this event and I hope next year more and more people come out – and hopefully it won't be raining next year," said Izuka.
"A lot of businesses in Yorkton have donated prizes," said Izuka, noting Canadian Tire, Mark's Work Warehouse, Brown's Social House, Warehouse One, McDonald's, Mr. Mike's, Yorkton Bowling Alley, Superstore, Painted Hand Casino, and Peavey Mart all donated prizes for the walkers.
Izuka, who also works for the Good Spirit School Division as an educational assistant, took the time to thank her employer.
"The GSSD has welcomed my service dog with open arms and made changes to the division to allow for certified service dogs," said Izuka.
Izuka also thanked the sponsors for the event which included, Pet Valu Yorkton, Lyn's Point of View, Melrose Place, Ridge Runner Construction, Springside Elementary, Scrub Hut, Sharp Automotive and Ottenbreit Sanitation.
Izuka said anyone looking to aid the cause can visit the groups web page to donate.