Blacksburg Dog Walk-a-thon raises $1,000 for Leader Dogs for the Blind
The Blacksburg Host Lions Club partnered with Delta Gamma Fraternity of Virginia Tech for its Dog Walk-a-thon on Saturday, Sept. 29, to benefit local sight conservation projects and the Leader Dogs for the Blind Program, which is based in Rochester, Mich. The event raised $1,000. Nearly 50 pooches and their parents started their three-mile trek in the parking lot at Smithfield Road and Duck Pond Drive on Virginia Tech’s campus.
Also on hand were students from the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, who gave free checkups to the dogs. And the managers of Heartstrings, a full service pet salon in Blacksburg, brushed and combed their furry friends, including Harvey, a 2-year-old, white Pyrenees who awaits a loving family. He lives with his friends at Pound Pals of Radford, a home for the homeless, abandoned and abused animals. They, too, walked to benefit their buddies, the Leader Dogs.
“The Dog-a-Thon gives us a chance to link to the community, and we value the human/animal bond and the way animals can serve people,” said Elizabeth Wall, a second-year student at the veterinary college.
Adam and Susan Soccolich of Blacksburg, brought their dog, Macho, a golden Labrador, to the fundraiser because Leader Dogs serve a greater purpose.
“We’re grateful to the Lions Club and the community members sponsoring the event,” said Adam Soccolich.
Chelsea Hill, a junior majoring in marketing at Virginia Tech, walked with her sorority sisters so people won’t take their sight for granted.
“It’s all about keeping up with the health of your eyes, and the Dog-a-thon is a fun and exciting ways for us to give back to the community,” Hill said.
The Blacksburg Host Lions Club services about three dozen children and adults each year, said Elaine Cook, president of the club.
Leader Dogs for the Blind strives to enhance mobility and independence for people who are blind and visually impaired. They learn how to use a Leader Dog, how to travel safely with a cane, and how to use a Trekker GPS. The school’s services are provided free of charge.
The Lions Club founded Leader Dogs for the Blind in 1939. Since then, Leader Dogs for the Blind has provided independent mobility to more than 14,000 visually impaired individuals. For more information, call (888) 777-5332 or visit www.leaderdog.org.
– Submitted by Lois Caliri
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