Lions Club sponsors dog walk for Leader Dogs

By Page H. Gifford

The first annual Waggin Winter Wonderland dog walk sponsored by the Rivanna Lions Club will take place on Dec. 9, (rain date Dec. 10) at the Rail Trail in the Palmyra Village during the Arts Festival. 

Registration begins at 11 a.m. There will also be a costume contest, prizes, and treat bags, and the cost per dog is $10 or 2 for $15 and all proceeds go to benefit Leader Dogs, a Lions-affiliated organization that raises and trains dogs to assist those with vision impairment.

The brainchild of Misti Harris, both Harris and Christine Cole are hoping to raise $500 for Leader Dogs to sponsor a puppy.

“It takes 92 sponsors to cover the cost of one guide dog,” said Cole. “The cost of training a dog from a puppy to training with their partners is $46,000. Some Lions volunteer to raise and train a puppy.”

Cole says their local club is committed to sight assistance for people in Fluvanna County. They provide funds to pay for eye exams and glasses for individuals who cannot afford these services. They also work with social services and Fluvanna County Public Schools to find those who need support.

“Rivanna Lions Club’s first commitment is to help our community. Donating money to Leader Dogs is also a priority. All of the clubs in our district donate to help this program. Leader Dogs depends on these donations to train the dogs, match them with clients, and bring individuals to learn how their dogs can help them,” said Cole. “There is no cost to the people who are matched with a leader dog. The Leader Dog program pays for any travel and accommodation expenses in training the recipients with their dogs.”

A Lions Club in Michigan started the Leader Dog program in 1939. After Lions International endorsed the program, donations started to pour in from all the individual Lions clubs around the world. Lions have been loyal contributors and partners in the program for over 80 years.

Since its charter in 1998, the Rivanna Lions Club has donated to Leader Dogs at least once a year.

“During COVID it was difficult to raise funds and we were unable to donate the amount we had in the past. We are now trying to double our efforts to help this important program.”

Among the many programs Leader Dog provides, they are the first guide dog organization to train dogs for the deaf and blind, using tactile or American Sign Language. Training can also include GPS devices, allowing traveling farther or in new environments, and providing the devices for free. They also have summer camps for teens to increase their independence, travel safety, and leadership skills.

Training includes many options, such as training in urban environments and the new Flex Training that begins at Leader Dog and finishes in the client’s home environment.

“This means lots of doggies and owners need to drop by and take a walk with us,” said Cole. The Rail Trail starts at the parking lot. Dog walkers can travel at their own pace and enjoy a stroll through this spectacular forest trail with views of the river.

To participate in the costume contest, photos of dogs sporting their festive holiday ensembles will be taken at registration. Gift baskets for 1st and 2nd place costume winners will be awarded at 1p.m. along with a gift for the most spirited dog. All dogs registering will also get a small bag of treats to get them through the morning.

“Everyone is welcome. If you are bringing your human children, stop by our Lions Club table for a holiday treat,” Cole said. “Feel free to walk the trail with your kids, or by yourself, to get a glimpse of our doggy participants and also get some exercise in the tree-lined forest trail.”

Related Posts

dewi88 cuanslot dragon77 cuan138 enterslots rajacuan megahoki88 ajaib88 warung168 fit188 pusatwin pusatwin slot tambang88 mahkota88 slot99 emas138