'Safety, mobility, independence': 13 puppies begin dog guide training
KITCHENER -- Dog guide puppies met their foster families at a drive-thru event on Wednesday.
Dog guides are essential for Canadians living with a medical or physical disability.
“These dogs are able to provide safety, mobility and independence for someone that is blind, for someone that is deaf or hard of hearing, someone who diabetes and is going through a low,” said Maria Galindo the Communications Manager with Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides.
The foundation had to pause to their breeding program due to the pandemic.
With new safety protocols in place, 13 seven-week-old standard poodle puppies are the first litter in almost a year and ready to start training.
Foster families came to get their puppies Wednesday using a drive-thru style pick up with set arrival times.
The foster families will train the dogs on basic obedience skills and socialization over the next year, before they return for formal training.
That includes seven different programs like seizure response, Autism assistance and facility support to assist people in traumatic situations.
“They are hypoallergenic dogs, so they don't actually have fur, they have hair,” said Galindo. “So if you have a disability and you need one of these dogs you're still able to get them.
Although it is a big commitment, foster families say helping train the puppies means knowing someone will eventually get a life-saving companion.
“I've been really affected by the stories of people with children with autism, and how their dog makes a difference for the whole family," said Ellen McCleary who will be fostering and training one of the puppies.
“For me it's about just giving back to the community and being a part of something bigger than ourselves. I also love the puppy kisses,” said Abbie Little and Jake Langstaff, who are also participating as puppy foster parents.
Next week five lab/golden crosses will also join new homes to start training, and preparations are underway for their Pet Valu Virtual Walk for Dog Guides fundraiser on May 30.
You can register to walk at walkfordogguides.com.