The Cochrane Lions Club wants to provide a Cochrane area resident with a dog guide and is welcoming inquiries.

The Lions Club has recently committed to providing a dog guide through the Lions of Canada Foundation and has begun a search for potential recipients in the Cochrane area.  The Lions Foundation is also on the search for a recipient.

The Cochrane Lions Club and Lions Foundation of Canada will cover the costs of the trained dog and for sending the recipient to Oakville, ON. to receive training.

While the final decision is in the hands of Dog Guide officials, Ken Tranter, of the Cochrane Lions Club, said they would prefer to find a candidate right here in the Cochrane area. If one isn't found here, the dog will be placed elsewhere.

"They provide these dogs to people right across Canada, from Newfoundland to British Columbia," says Tranter. 

People interested in making an application can contact Tranter directly at 587-493-9629.

From there, a list of possible recipients will be submitted to the Dog Guide officials for follow-up interviews.

Many associate dog guides with the visually impaired, but they also provide emergency support for many different conditions, including hearing, seizure response, autism assistance, and diabetic alert. There's also facility support to assist people in traumatic situations and service dog guides for people with physical or medical disabilities.

Tranter explains there are specific age limits of recipients for each type of dog. For example, dogs to assist the visually impaired are for those 12 years and older, while recipients of seizure response dogs can be six years of age or older.

Training is completed one-on-one with a qualified instructor over an intense four-to-six month period. Once fully trained, the dog is matched with a client who spends one to three weeks at the Oakville training facility to learn how to handle, trust, and bond with their new dog guide.

The club has made an initial $5,000 donation to the Lions of Canada Foundation towards sponsoring a dog. It could cost the club up to $12,000, depending upon the type of dog guide required. 

He says the cost of training a dog guide is closer to $25,000 but is offset by other fundraising efforts by the foundation.

The Cochrane Lions Club had hoped to hold their inaugural Guide Dog Walk in late May, but it had to be cancelled due to COVID-19.

"Unfortunately, it was cancelled," says Tranter, "But we're hoping to do one next year."

The Cochrane Lions Club was formed in 1964. As part of a nonprofit international service organization, it supports countless local causes as well as many provincial, national, and international charitable initiatives.