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Annual Winnipeg walk connects patients with service dogs

Annual walk for dog guides in Kildonan Park. .
Annual walk for dog guides in Kildonan Park. . Jeremy Desrochers/Global News

WINNIPEG – The annual Pet Valu Walk for Dog Guides is aiming to raise money to provide hundreds of service animals for people with medical or physical disabilities across Canada.

The Winnipeg walk took place at Kildonan Park Sunday morning with other versions of the event happening in more than 240 Canadian communities.

“Our wait list currently is over 500 across Canada and we’re on track to match 200 teams this year,” said organizer Beatrice Barnard, who’s with the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides.

The group provides six types of dog guides in different streams: vision dogs, hearing-assist dogs, seizure alert dogs, autism-assist dogs and diabetic alert dogs.

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“The need is getting greater for service dogs in all different streams,” said Barnard.

It costs about $25,000 to raise, train and match each dog with a patient.

According to organizers, the annual walk has raised more than $14 million since it began in 1984.