COURTNEY McCLURE, The Standard

SCUGOG: Join the Pet Valu: Port Perry Annual Walk for Dog Guides on Sunday, May 29th, 2022. The annual walk for dog guides happens every year, on the last Sunday of May.

To participate in this event, you can register online on the Pet Valu: Walk for Dog Guides website or in person on the day of the event. Donations and sponsors are very much appreciated. There is no registration fee or minimum donation. Registration starts at 10 a.m., and the walk starts at 11 a.m.

Participants will start in Palmer Park and end at Old Flame Brewing Co., located on Perry street. Old Flame is also dog-friendly.

After the walk, there will be a barbecue lunch and ice cream. Jonathan van Bilsen will MC the event.

You do not have to own a dog to join the walk. The event is family-friendly, and everyone is welcome and asked to register for the walk.

“I have seen dog guides working,” explained Sue Brain, a member of the Port Perry Walk for Dog Guides group. “The difference it makes in a person’s [life] is really amazing.”

Ms. Brain is a dog lover and owns a dog herself, a golden retriever named Suzy. She said, seeing the dogs “in action” and helping their handlers is a wonderful sight to experience.

Ms. Brain is encouraging anyone interested in learning what dog guides do to visit the Walk for Dog Guide’s website.

“I like to say, as soon as you say “dogs,” people pull out their wallets anyway because we all love dogs,” she said.

When someone receives a dog guide, they do not have to pay for the dog. But, it costs about $35,000 to breed, feed and train puppies raised to be dog guides.

Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides is where many dog guides are trained in Ontario. The facility is located in Oakville, Ontario. There are seven types of dog guides trained at the Oakville facility. These dog guides can be used to assist people with hearing loss, loss of sight and many other disabilities and challenges.

Ivo Finotti and Ms. Brain organized a small group and started the Port Perry Walk for Dog Guides. Sue Brain has been a participant in the Port Perry Walk for Dog Guides for about five years. So far, the group has had two in-person and two virtual walks. This year’s walk will be their third in-person walk.

The past few walks have been hosted online, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ms. Brain said she is thrilled this year’s walk for dog guides can be held in-person.

“We are really thrilled this year to be back walking with our dogs in beautiful downtown Port Perry,” said Ms. Brain.

Walk for Dog Guides is a national walk Canadians take part in from all across Canada. Each year, there are about 300 different walks for dog guides, happening on the same day.

Organizers across Canada encourage everyone to support the dog guide walk by registering, donating and participating. To learn more about registration, donations and support, you can visit www.walkfordogguides.com.