Or, as the local clubs are calling it, Woofstock.
“All of the money raised from the walk goes to the dogs. No administration fee or anything, all the sponsors cover that. The cheapest dog is around $25,000 to get a handler, to train them, and the Lions Club gives them away to people who need them.”
Every year the Pet Valu Walk raises money for the Lions Foundation of Canada. The foundation operates the largest guide dog school in the country, and all the dogs are provided to Canadians in need for no cost.
“Helen Keller called the Lions the ‘knights of the blind,’ and the Lion’s foundation started there, with dogs for the blind,” said Joanne Bray, former Lions Club president and the organizer of the event. “Now we have six different types of dogs; blind, hearing, special skills, hearing, diabetic, and seizure dogs. We’re the only ones in Canada that raise and train all six types, and to do that we need donations.”
— LFC Dog Guides (@LFCDogGuides) May 25, 2018
The Lions Foundation covers the costs of training the dogs and place them with a person in need through donations and fundraising events including the Pet Valu Walk. The yearly event is held at locations across the country, the Oliver event takes place at the Oliver Lions Park.
“It’s held usually on the last Monday of May, and this is the 12th year we’re doing this in Oliver,” said Bray. “The foundation started it around 27 years ago, and with how much the dogs cost, every little bit raised counts.”
The event will run from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. The walk itself begins at 9:30 a.m., and the Lions Club is expecting to see at least eight walkers with their dogs, though they are hoping for a lot more. In previous years the event raised around $2,500 for the Lions Foundation. At 11 a.m. will also be the grand opening of the new off-leash dog park at Lions Park.
“We’re hoping to attract more people this year, with the Woofstock after the walk,” Bray said.
As part of the Woofstock there will be a dog agility demo, with a team coming in from Grand Forks and running from 10 to 11 a.m. There will also be food, dancing, chicken bingo, a bounce castle, and more. The nearby skateboard park will also be used for the event, with a skateboard skills display.
“There will be donation boxes set up around the park, and we hope to double what we’ve raised in previous years,” said Bray. “So for people who don’t go on the walk can still donate to the walk.”