Dailaan Shaffer’s dog Google is a hearing dog guide that has been with her for nine years last month. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance)

VIDEO: Guide dog walk gives participant a new ‘leash’ on life

Attendance was light at the third Walk for Dog Guides in Fort Langley on Sunday.

The addition of Google to Dailaan Shaffer’s life has been a blessing.

That’s what the Port Coquitlam woman said of her hearing dog guide, as she and her husband Jayeson strolled around the grounds of the Fort Langley Lions Club this weekend.

She was one of only a few participants who turned out for the third annual Walk for Dog Guides held in the village Sunday morning.

“We came out today because we really think the Lions Foundation [of Canada Dog Guides] is an amazing foundation,” Shaffer said. “They’ve done a lot for our lives.”

Supporting the Lions on a continuous basis, “we want to do everything we can” to raise money and awareness for the Lions foundation and the work they do to provide trained canine assistants to people living with disabilities.

Shaffer, who has a hearing deficit, was partnered with Google nine years ago.

Google alerts her to seven sounds in her world including someone calling her name, the kitchen timer going off, the phone ringing, and the doorbell sounding.

“When she hears the sound, she jumps up on my leg, and she’s all excited, and she goes in the direction of the sound, and I follow her,” Shaffer explained of the 10 and a half-year-old poodle who she repeatedly said has made a significant difference in her life.

It costs, as the PoCo woman understands, about $20,000 to breed and raise one of the foundation dogs for any of its six programs (vision, hearing, service, seizure response, autism assistance, and diabetes alert).

“So that’s what the money [from the walks] goes for, to make sure that people have animals that they need to work for them, and that they are trained, and that we are trained, too – so we don’t mess up the good training they’ve had.”

And that’s why Shaffer, her hubby, and Google participate in a number of different fundraising events for the foundation, including the annual walk. They’ve typically participated closer to home, but said with the cancellation of some of the walks, they opted to show up for the Langley event this time around.

While there are literally hundreds such fundraising dog guide walks held across the country this summer, this Langley event is still relatively new, and sadly wasn’t well publicized this time around, admitted Aldergrove’s Steven Harris, one of the primary organizers.

He hopes to do better next year, drawing at least a few dozen participants for the Pet Valu fundraising walk where funds are specifically earmarked to provide dog guides to Canadians.

For more information about the foundation, or the walks, visit their website.


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