Leader Dog Program 2016

By | October 29, 2016
Lion Bill Graham presents Leader Dog program

Lion Bill Graham presents Leader Dog program

This evening we had not one but two guest speakers.  The first was Lion Bill Graham from the North Raleigh Lions Club who presented the Leader Dog Program.  Lion Bill is himself a visually impaired person (what we like to call a V.I.P.) so his wife (Lion Dale) drove him to the meeting.  The Leader Dog program was started in 1938 by four Lions.  The program is quite successful today and has many volunteers to keep costs low.  When a candidate goes to visit the leader dog center, they do not have to pay anything.  The travel costs as well as room and board are paid by the program.  A candidate does have to be qualified, though, as Lion Bill has found out for himself.  He is going through the qualification process now and has found it to be extremely thorough.  A Lions Club can sponsor a candidate and there is no cost to the club to do that. 

Lion Bill said that as a Lion himself, he realizes that every program that Lions support is worthwhile but the Leader Dog program is especially important because it makes such an impact in a person’s life.  In many cases it can practically give a VIP their life back.  Rather than being confined to their home afraid to go outside they can learn to rely on a leader dog to guide them and protect them so they can regain mobility.  The motivation and companionship a leader dog can provide are immeasurable.  During our question and answer discussion we learned that dogs can be trained to do some pretty amazing things including sensing that a person is about to have a seizure.  Each school breeds their own dogs but they do need funds and volunteers to be what they call “puppy raisers”.  Lion Bill recommends that every club consider giving over and above the minimum request of $1 per member that is the district goal.

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