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Seventh annual Walk for Dog Guides event takes place Sunday in Wakamow Valley

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All money raised goes to the Lions Foundation of Canada, which trains guide dogs for Canadians.

The seventh annual Walk for Dog Guides fundraiser takes place this weekend in Wakamow Valley, giving residents the opportunity to support friends and family who rely on the help of service animals.

The event will be held on Sunday, June 2, at Wellesley Park. Registration begins at 10:30 a.m., and the walk begins at 11:00 a.m. The walk is free—register either in person or at walkfordogguides.com. All proceeds raised go toward training and placing life-changing guide dogs for free to Canadians with disabilities.

Such animals typically help people who suffer from autism, diabetes, seizures, vision or hearing problems, or who need assistance in court.

For more information, call 306-630-6529 or email [email protected].

While this is the seventh annual event in Moose Jaw, the march has been held across Canada for 25 years.

Laurie Ewen is the event's organiser and helped launch the walk in 2017 after seeing the impact a guide dog had on her son Stephen Walcer. The now 17-year-old – who has autism – was given Bingo at primary school. The dog eliminated the boy's desire to walk and gave him the strength to ask teachers for help.

“It has touched our lives so much (and) made such a difference and I want everyone to have a chance to succeed,” Ewen said. “I want everyone who needs one to have a service dog.”

“We used to be stuck at home all the time and now we can do all kinds of things. We just want to share that with other people.”

On the day of the hike, Donna MacQuarrie-Bye, general manager of the Wakamow Valley Authority, will give a short speech before the event begins. Walcer will then lead a short hike before the group returns to the park for a pizza lunch.

Pet Valu is the main sponsor and handles all the paperwork, while the outlet does a great job and is a good partner, Ewen said. Meanwhile, residents can support the march even if they don't have a service dog, and the event is wheelchair accessible.

“If you just want to come by and visit us, that's great too. We really want to spread the word about the work we do on these amazing dogs,” she continued.

All the money raised goes to the Lions Foundation of Canada, which trains the dogs for Canadians. It costs about $35,000 to breed, raise, train and house a single animal. Although the Moose Jaw Walk didn't bring in much money last year because of rain, several thousand dollars have been raised since its inception.

“I think it's really important that we help people with disabilities have the opportunity to be active in society and enrich their lives, (because) they have so much to offer,” Ewen said.

“If we give a little, we get so much back.”