Plastic Dogs Are Not an Oversight to Those Without Sight

by Steven Doucette

You've probably seen them here and there over the last twenty years. You've probably given your children or grandchildren a few coins when they said, "I want to put money in the doggy". I'm talking about the plastic dog coin banks located in numerous grocery and other stores and businesses in the area. Have you ever wondered where exactly those few coins you put in go? You may have, but perhaps you haven't. After all, it's just some loose change which you're just as glad to get out of your pocket or wallet, and to appease the kids while they "feed" the dog in exchange for the hugs and kisses on the nose they also provide to their canine friend. It just helps to know where the kids are while you're paying for your items. They're right over there, climbing all over the dog.

The fact is the pennies, nickels and dimes you just put in that plastic dog are a huge factor in why you'll see that man or lady walking down the street, shopping in a store, or traveling on a bus with their guide dog in harness. That blind or visually impaired person has trained with and received a working guide dog thanks largely to that loose change that you probably didn't even give a second thought to.

Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind has provided professionally trained guide dogs to visually impaired and blind residents of Canada, many in this area, since 1984. A common misconception is that the organization is somehow affiliated with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB). While the latter organization provides incredible services for those with vision impairment, they do not train guide dogs. Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind provides this service, with no funds from the C.N.I.B. or the government. The charitable organization, founded by Bill & Jane Thornton more than two decades ago, has operated solely through donations from businesses and individuals.

Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind

While many choose to donate larger amounts in order to receive a charitable tax receipt, Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind receives a great deal of its funds through 'the plastic dogs'. How many times have you heard the cliché, "Every penny counts"? Well, in this case you may take it literally. That loose change has given freedom to many people, allowing them to receive a guide dog, enhancing their mobility, giving them a newly found independence. A person with a guide dog now has the ability to travel and get around on their own without another person to assist them, a huge factor in confidence and the ability to contribute to society and have an ordinary life, with or without vision.

So, the next time you rid yourself of those coins you don't want to bother with, take a moment to think about it. Sure, it's only a few cents, or a dollar or two, but you deserve to feel good about it.

Funding is always a concern for any charitable organization. If you're a business owner or manager, you are certainly aware of this, inundated with daily requests. So, here is a unique way you can help at no expense to your business. All it takes is two square feet. Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind is always seeking stores that would display a plastic dog to collect coins. You're helping the organization, but it can also help you, demonstrating your community spirit, your support of individuals tackling their physical disability head on, and you'll also be surprised how many children are attracted to this plastic canine, keeping their hands away from the shelves or ensuring they're safe and occupied while their parents wait in line.

The result of your small gesture is immense, especially for someone like Jocelyne, a recipient of a guide dog. "Up until two years ago, my world was getting so small because my vision and hearing were getting poorer and I no longer felt safe in this fast paced world. Because of my guide dog, I am now able to do the simplest things in life like walking down the street safely without bumping into anyone or anything. I am also able to attend work related conferences, meetings and training classes across the country for my job. I have a new sense of independence and my world is a bigger and better place to be."

If you'd like to help or make a donation you can contact Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind at (613) 692-7777. Learn more on their website at www.guidedogs.ca.


Steven Doucette
Special Events Manager
Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind<
4120 Rideau Valley Drive North, PO Box 280
Manotick, Ontario K4M 1A3
Tel: (613) 692-7777
Fax (613) 692-0650
British Columbia Tel: (604) 270-2432
Direct email: guidedogspr@sympatico.ca
General email: cgdb@sympatico.ca
Website: www.guidedogs.ca

Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind is a Canada Customs & Revenue Agency Registered Charitable Organization, No. 10684 6819 RR0001