Walk for Dog Guides is back, and it’s now online.
Organizer Laverne Stapely with the Bancroft Lions Club is raising the 23rd and 24th guide dog since he and his wife Janice began doing so years ago. Stapely says he and his wife have had 12 dogs graduate from the guide program over the years. One of the dogs currently in his care will become a facility support dog, which are used by professional agencies to assist people in medical situations.
Stapely says he began training guide dogs after a conversation with a fellow Lions Club member, who was blind. The Lion said that without fosters, he would not be able to have a dog. After a discussion, Stapely and his wife did the paperwork and began their journey, which he calls fulfilling. He compares it to raising children and says some dogs take to the training immediately and others require some patience. But he says graduation day makes the whole effort worthwhile, even if it will be held virtually this year. Often he meets the person who the guide dog is given to, and they stay in touch.
Walk for Dog Guides is sponsored by Pet Valu and is done through regional Lions Clubs. Aside from the facility support dogs, they are used to help those with vision or hearing impairments. Service dogs can be used to respond to seizures, assist autistic people and even used for diabetic alerts.
Donations to the Bancroft team can be submitted here or can be dropped off in person at the Bancroft Dairy Queen.