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Monday, May 20, 2024
Smelly pups awash with gratitude at dog wash fundraiser
Almost a dozen pups were treated to baths at the Pet Valu in Virgil this past weekend, including this cavalier King Charles spaniel named Tess. DAVE VAN DE LAAR

Every dog has its day. 

That day in Niagara-on-the-Lake was Saturday, May 11 in Virgil, as a dog wash hosted by the St. Davids Lions and Leos attracted pooches and their owners from around the community.

In total, 11 pets were put under hoses, as part of the Pet Valu Walk for Dog Guides, raising $220 to support the Lions Club’s May 26 walk, with another $130 added from drop-off donations.

While under the auspices of its parent Lions, the event was an initiative hosted by the organization’s youth branch, known as the Leos.

“They are volunteering and they are catching on to the values that the Lions are putting into the community,” said Bradd Anderson, the club’s Leo adviser.

“It’s a learning thing for them,” he added.

“It’s also a learning thing for the Lions to work with youth to help them and to educate them with the hopes that, somewhere along the line, they will become a Lion member or they have the value of giving back somewhere.”

Sophia Szewczyk, 13, is a Leo peer leader.

“This is really important to me and many others here, because we are raising money not only for a good cause but to help other people and that means a lot to me,” she said.

The beneficiaries from this event are those supported, both here in NOTL and beyond, by the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides. 

The foundation makes it possible for community members to raise pups out of infancy at no cost before they are accepted into its training facility located in Oakville, said Anderson.

Once they graduate from the centre, a person-in-need is identified and paired with the dog.

Szewczyk added that she is proud to continue the tradition of philanthropy handed down to her by her community and the Lions Club.

“We are very appreciative here in St. Davids and Niagara-on-the-Lake,” she said.

“And knowing where you come from, your background and all the people that have helped the community really keeps me going because I want to be like them.”

Events like this one are not only rewarding, she added, but fun for the dogs, volunteers, and pet owners alike.

“This is our second time doing this. We wash the dogs and they are so happy and cute. I find everyone here is so loving and grateful for what we do and the donations are great.”

“Everyone here is just having a great time,” she added. “We get wet, it doesn’t matter that the dog may be a bit smelly — you wash them off anyway — and they have such a good time. 

“I find that this event is just a great one. We should keep doing it every year.”

The 24-hour Pet Valu Walk for Guide Dogs starts at 11:30 a.m. on May 26 at St. Davids Lions Park.

Registration takes place at 11 a.m. and supporters can take part themselves or pledge support for walkers.

Checkpoints will be situated around the park where Leos will be giving away draw tickets.

“The more times you walk around the park, the more tickets you get,” said Anderson.


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