Empowering people to live with independence, confidence and mobility: Dog Guides Canada

Lions Foundation of Canada is a national charity whose mission is to assist Canadians with a medical or physical disability by providing Dog Guides – at no cost.

Lions Foundation of Canada trains Dog Guides to assist Canadians with a wide range of disabilities. With seven programs in place, Canadians who become qualified applicants are offered the opportunity to find greater independence, mobility and safety through the help of a Dog Guide.

Expertly matched Dog Guides

We provide expertly matched guide dogs, instruction in how to work with the dog as a team, and a lifetime of support services. Here is a glimpse of the programs offered.

Canine Vision Dog Guides help enrich the lives of Canadians who are at least 12 years old and are blind or visually impaired. These Dog Guides are trained to assist their handlers in navigating obstacles and provide safety in travelling freely. 

Hearing  Dog Guides assist individuals who are 10 years of age or older who are deaf or hard of hearing to detect sounds they are unable to hear on their own. They have been taught to distinguish sounds, make physical contact with their handlers and lead them to whatever is making the noise. Handlers have gained an increased sense of security knowing they will always have a link to the world of sound through their Dog Guide.

Autism Assistance Dog Guides help children between 3 and 12 who are on the autism spectrum. These Dog Guides provide safety, companionship and unconditional love. They offer a calming relief for children in high anxiety situations, and reduce the stress commonly experienced in public places. 

Service Dog Guides help those 10 years of age or older with physical or medical disabilities, to discover a sense of safety and independence through the use specific training. Skills include: retrieving objects, opening and closing appliances and doors, barking or activating an alert system when help is needed.

Seizure Response Dog Guides are trained to assist individuals with epilepsy. Trained to activate an alert system or bark for help in the event of a seizure provides their handler’s with a trustworthy companion. 

Diabetic Alert Dog Guides assist people who have diabetes with hypoglycemic unawareness. They are trained to detect sudden drops in their handler’s blood sugar through scent and alert them so they can ingest something sweet. Their ability to react and detect this, helps handler’s avoid loss of consciousness and subsequent life-threatening effects.  

Support Dog Guides are for use by professional agencies with individuals in traumatic situations. By providing comfort to victims or witnesses of a crime or sudden tragedy, they assist with on scene support to those most vulnerable in our community.

Trained to meet demanding needs

Depending on the program, Dog Guides are trained to perform tailored tasks to meet the specific needs of their future handler. To help ensure that the new working team develops a bond and prepare them for the next step of returning home, the client and Dog Guide train and live together at the facility in Oakville, Ontario, for two to three weeks.

Get involved

The growth of Lions Foundation of Canada’s Dog Guide programs would not be possible without the support of thousands of donors and volunteers across the country. From guiding their handlers through their daily lives to getting help when it’s needed most, Dog Guides – and the volunteers who give generously of their time – play a crucial role in the lives of Canadians with disabilities.

The programs cost the foundation approximately $25,000 per year and Dog Guides Canada receives zero government funding. As such, they rely on fundraising events, the generosity of donors and on service clubs, organizations and corporations.

There are many ways to get involved: from raising a puppy, to volunteering, to spreading awareness in your community, to donating.

Your donations can help to create life-changing experiences that empowers individuals with disabilities to navigate safely and confidently with a loving Dog Guide right be their side.

For more information on Dog Guides Canada please visit http://www.dogguides.com/