Lions Foundation of Canada
Report to District
Foundation of Canada Web Site
Lion Rick Letton, District
Chair, Lions Foundation of Canada
I would like to thank all the Lion Clubs
that held a Purina Walk for Dog Guides in May and in September.
The goal for the 2010 Dog Walk was to raise one million dollars
and through everyone’s effort LFC came within $ 10,000.00
dollars of making the goal. The goal for 2011 Dog Walk is to
raise 1.2 million dollars!
This year the London Dog Walk was in the
top 10 fund raisers across the country raising over $ 9,700.00.
My wife and I were at the Foundation
yesterday and had a tour of the new facilities. The kennel
expansion is amazing and designed to give the dogs an
opportunity to see each other and the people who come into the
room. It is designed to cut down on the barking as the dogs can
see what is going on, but it is cute as one standard poodle was
leaping straight up in the air on all four paws to look over the
wall instead of standing on its hind legs and watching what is
The vet clinic is complete and it has
really improved the quality of life for the dogs as they can be
tended to right at the clinic instead of driving them to an
offsite clinic and have them boarded there and looked after by
people who don’t know them.
The area for the dogs to be able to relieve
themselves has also been vastly improved, with proper drainage,
waste disposal and ventilation inside, instead of taking them
outside for them to go. In winter time this lead to a whole new
set of problems as people in motorized wheel chairs were being
stranded on the frozen urine.
The renovations are approximately 99%
completed and the balance should be done by year end.
Now that the major capital expenses are
done, the LFC needs your help in outfitting the kennels with dog
beds, water bowls and toys etc. There are 2 dogs to an oversized
kennel as they are social animals and like being together.
Last year, 128 teams graduated from LFC.
This year they are on track to graduate 150 teams and they are
working on reaching their goal of graduating 200 teams a year by
2014. An interesting statistic is, approximately one third of
the teams graduating consist of replacement dogs for existing
LFC is unique in the world as they provide
service dogs for five different areas. Most service dog
organizations specialize in one type of service dog such as a
dog for the visually impaired, dogs for autism etc.
I could go on about all the important
things that LFC do and how they have a profound effect on their
clients, but suffice it to say, they still need your support to
be able to continue to carry out their fantastic work.
If I could impose upon your patience for a
minute, I would like to talk about being a Lion.
You know how sometimes you are working at a
Lions project in really bad weather, or its scorching hot or it
is the same old same old every week and you wonder why are you
doing this when you could be at home with your family doing all
those things you have put off, or just haven’t found time to do
yet. You are thinking does this matter, does anyone really care
if we raise money for whatever the cause maybe, are we making a
Then something happens and you say, this is
why I became a Lion so I can help make a difference. I had one
of those moments a little over a month ago! I had the privilege
of representing our club at the LFC graduation. Our club had
sponsored a dog guide for a visually impaired person. I got to
the ceremony (surprisingly I was early) and could not believe
the crowd there. The graduates had their family and friends, the
foster parents of the dogs and people and groups who had
sponsored a team were there. The whole ceremony was very
emotional and the one graduate from the hearing dog course was
profoundly deaf and mute, so she was constantly signing Thank
You, with tears rolling down her cheeks as she was so grateful
to be able to live independently. Afterwards the staff were
telling me that now for the first time since her husband past
away, she could have her grandchildren come and stay with her.
Lucy was the person our club sponsored and she thanked me again
and again for giving her life back to her.
Lucy had lost her eye sight approximately
3 years ago and had to depend on others for everything. Now she
goes to the malls, does her own grocery shopping, takes walks
around the neighbourhood and is no longer afraid. She and her
dog Hedda are growing stronger together in their trust of each
Lucy has become a member of our club as
she is so grateful to Lions for her dog, the LFC and all the
work Lions do. In fact Lucy is working at our weekend BBQ at Cdn
Tire on Wonderland as we speak. She was a trooper on Friday
working in the freezing cold, worked Saturday and as I mentioned
she is back again to work today.
Lucy has become a great ambassador for
Lions and she can’t believe that we don’t have people lined up
out the door wanting to join as she thinks and knows we do such
great work. As a matter of fact Lucy is sponsoring a new member
for our club and has a friend in another town who wants to join
Lions because of all the positive things Lucy has told her. Her
friend has received her third dog from LFC and wants to work
with and for the Lions to repay them for their support of her
over the years. LFC talks to each graduate and suggests to each
of them of the ways they can help LFC from joining local Lions
clubs to running a Purina Walk for Dog Guides. In our district
there is 2 dog walks run by the “Friends of LFC” one in
Ridgetown and one in Windsor.
Lions if you are every wondering do we make
a difference, or your spouse says are you out again for Lions,
take them to a graduation at LFC, or go to an open house at LFC
or take a tour and see the facilities, meet the employees (they
have a world wide reputation for excellence) and trust me, your
faith will be restored and your spouse will see that what you
are doing does make a difference!
Lion Rick Letton