Your Neighbourhood Credit Union raising funds to support Guide Dogs

5 12 2008

Kara Bertrand
Staff Reporter, Community News East
Published: July 2, 2008

A 10-week old black Labrador Retriever puppy named Pina will soon begin training with Dog Guides, primed to change the life of her future owner.

“It’s amazing to think when looking at her that she’s got such an incredible future,” said Kate Neff, Manager, Marketing and Community Relations for Your Neighbourhood Credit Union (YNCU).

YNCU held their second annual barbeque in support of Dog Guides on June 6, the first of many events in the hope of fundraising $25,000 to cover Pina’s care. Last year, the company raised $15,000 for a yellow lab named Dreyfus who was given to an elderly woman, Thea, in Edmonton.

Neff was almost brought to tears when she told of the message she received from Thea. “She said, ‘my world was getting really, really small… Dreyfus has changed my life.’”

YNCU will sponsor the training of Pina until she graduates from the program and passes the medical, social and intellectual testing. Dog Guides trains dogs in programs such as Hearing Ear, Canine Vision or Special Skills. Its breeding facility for all of Canada is in Breslau, which Neff said was an even better way to ensure YNCU is supporting the community.

Pina will be fostered by Helen and Dave Kindy for a year to work on socialization before she will begin official training for Dog Guides.
“It was always something I wanted to do,” said Helen.

Jennifer Piccione, part of the puppy staff at Dog Guides, said a new program was added to train Seizure Response dogs and the organization also has breeding dogs to ensure their labs, and terriers are pure-bred.

She said Pina’s mother was one of their breeding dogs and her father is actually a guide in California. Piccione said dogs that enter the special skills program, which Dreyfus was entered into, need to be quite smart and be problem solvers. For example, they must be able to retrieve remotes and phones but also be strong enough to stabilize their partner in case of a fall.

Dog Guides is always in need of foster parents and donations. Visit their website for more information. YNCU is accepting donations at all 13 branches.