“To raise and train a guide dog for service to deaf, blind or special needs people, takes months of intensive schooling. The cost per dog is $20,000, but the dogs themselves are presented to the people who need them at no cost at all,” said Bill Dixon, past president of District A Lions, and special guest at the Iroquois-Matilda Lions dinner held on Monday, June 10.
“That is why the efforts of these two Junior Lions to raise funds for my Pennies for Pups campaign are important. I am here to honour two young women who have done something special for our cause.”
Iroquois-Matilda Junior Lions, Sarah MacDonald and Larissa Ettlin, raised $330 at their high school, Seaway DHS, to present to the program. “We decided we wanted to get our community and our school involved,” Sarah and Larissa said. “We did the organizing ourselves and set up a competition for home rooms to see which one could raise the most pennies. We worked on the project for close to three months.”
Lion Doug Peters originally brought the campaign, Pennies for Puppies, to the attention of the Iroquois-Matilda Lions. “Sarah and Larissa took up the idea and ran with it,” he said. “I am very pleased that they are being honoured tonight with special certificates.”
In his address to the club, Dixon, whose daughter has multiple sclerosis and works with a guide dog, stressed the immense difference a trained guide dog can make in the lives of the people who receive one from the Foundation.
“These animals give a sense of security and safety to humans. Often the dogs are a calming influence on young children dealing with handicaps. The Foundation relies on groups like the Lions and other service clubs for the funds to raise and train these wonderful dogs. We receive no government funding. Young people like Sarah and Larissa are picking up the torch of service.”
The Iroquois-Matilda Lions voted to add extra funds to the Junior Lions’ collection, to make the total donation to the Pennies for Puppies $500. Dixon is hoping to raise $20,000 for GuideDogs.