Lion Tails:

Dog guides bring freedom to locals

The Lethbridge Herald City,  Saturday, February 12, 2011                 

Reported by Sherri Gallant

Tamie Bene and Calvin DeWit left Lethbridge alone three weeks ago and returned on Friday accompanied by devoted companions - their new dog guides; helpers who will improve their lives in countless ways.

Tired but elated, Bene and DeWit arrived at the Lethbridge airport to a cheering bunch of Lions Club members - the group that funds dog guides locally and pays for the training school nationally. After three weeks of intensive training at the Sir James Dunn Dog Guide Training Centre, in Oakville, Ont., they've established themselves as the dogs' new masters, trained them to meet their individual needs, and fallen in love with their pooches.

Prominent in the welcoming committee was Lion Bill Brown with his canine vision dog Rocko, a handsome black standard poodle. Rocko is Brown's second service dog, just as Gucci, a female black Lab, is for Bene. Her first special skills dog is still with her, but the dog is ill and can no longer work.

Briar, DeWit's new Lab will open up the world for her master.

"I never had a dull moment there," said DeWit, who's totally blind.

"It's going to give me a lot more freedom. Now I don't have to worry about making the curb on the other side of the street, she does that for me. Once I get routes made, I just have to tell her where I want to go, and she'll take me there. It's already paying dividends, and it's only been two weeks. The bonding takes about six months, they say, but I already feel a strong bond with her.

"The first couple of days I wondered what I'd gotten myself into, because she was still responding to the trainers. Then after a while, the trainers would walk into the room and she wouldn't even lift her head. She's just there right beside me."

For Bene, an amputee in a wheelchair, Gucci has been trained to pick up objects and even to get Bene sitting upright in her chair if she falls forward and can't right herself.

There are eight dog guides in Lethbridge, said Brown, and the cost to train each one of them is between $20,00 and $25,000.

Through the Lions Foundation of Canada Purina Walk for Dog Guides, money is raised to make this happen for folks across the country. This year in May will be the 10th walk in Lethbridge, which has raised $203,500 in the past nine years.

Since 1983, the lives of over 1,200 men, women and children from the age of eight to 84, have been enriched by the services of specially trained Dog Guides from Lions Foundation of Canada.

This year's walk is May 28 at Nicholas Sheran Park, at 11 a.m.

© 2011 The Lethbridge Herald. All rights reserved.



A Lethbridge woman was among the recipients of Toyota's 2009 Never Quit Awards for the Prairie Zone.

Tamie Bene was among the trio of winners in the individual category for the annual awards, which celebrate individuals who persevere against all odds and whose tenacity and dedication improves their own lives as well as the lives of those they touch.

Bene is involved in the local wheelchair curling program which was introduced in the fall and says, "I'm having a blast!"

At one time, she participated in the local wheelchair basketball program but had been interested in giving curling a try since her sister too up the sport several years ago. Her parents used to curl as well, Bene says, adding, "When we were kid, we kind of grew up in the curling rink."

As one of the Toyota Never Quit winners, Bene receives $1,000 and a plaque. The prise is well-timed, she says, because the wheelchair left at her home is in need of repairs.

The award also includes $1,000 to be donated to a charity of the winner's choice and Bene has elected the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides, an organization which provided the dog guide she has.

Tamie Bene's dog guide, Nike, was sponsored by the Lethbridge West Lions Club. As with all dogs provided by the Lions Foundation of Canada, it was at no cost to Tamie or her family. The donation back to the Lions Foundation is given with Tamie's heart-felt thanks and appreciation for the many ways her life has been improved and enhanced by Nike, and Lions.



Lions Clubs around the world are raising money to help Haiti and so did the West Lethbridge Lions Club.
Saturday night January 16 was a night of fun, laughter and tears as the West Lethbridge Lion’s Club hosted their annual club 250-night fundraiser. For the price of a ticket you received dinner, dancing and drinks with a chance to win cash prizes and door prizes. A silent auction was another facet of the evening event.
As people arrived to register there were containers available asking for a show of support for the recent tragedy in Haiti by giving a donation.
Club president Brent Johnson announced throughout the evening that whatever was collected that evening our Lion’s Club would match the amount helping in relief efforts for this ravaged country.
One of the highlights of the night was a $1000.00 draw for one of the lucky 250 ticket holders. Alan Woodroffe who won this announced while claiming his prize that he wanted to donate the full amount back to Haiti.
Emotion riveted the air with clapping and a standing ovation for Alan.
To add to the excitement of the evening Ralph Zetner who won $808.00 in another draw donated his portion back to Haiti, bringing everyone to their feet a second time.
It was a very successful evening and I am happy and honoured to announce that a $5000.00 donation will be sent for relief and rebuilding of Haiti.
Thank you to everyone who contributed.


Project Homeless Connect 2April 2011 ( click on artical and photos)



Japanese earthquake relief 

West Lethbridge has donated $5000.00 to LCIF for Japanese earthquake relief.

If you would like to help in donations please contact our club


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