If you’re walking your dog this winter one Newmarket resident is asking you to consider doing it for a good cause.
Amanda Robar, who suffers from epilepsy, has organized the Winter Walk for Happy Tails, a fundraiser to help her cover the cost of training her seizure-response dog.
As her current service dog Kira is reaching retirement, training is already underway with her next dog Cable, who just turned one in August.
Robar said the training starts when puppies are just eight weeks old and takes about two years to complete. The cost is over $37,000.
Through fundraising she has been able to raise more than $17,000 but there’s still a long way to go. That’s where the winter walk comes in.
For just $10 per dog, people can register for a chance to win prizes while participating in a task they do everyday anyway.
“Get outside with your dog, walk your dog, and have a fun time, and have a chance to win one of the prize packs,” Robar said.
The virtual event will take place between Dec. 5 and 12, so you can complete it on your own time.
To win, participants have to share photos with their furry friends in at least one of the three categories: prettiest setting, most unique setting, or longest walk, in which they have to show proof of their kilometres.
“People can walk their dogs and take pictures and send them to my mother who will send them off to our judges,” Robar said.
She said the prize packs have been donated by Good Vibes on Main, an apparel and accessories store on Main Street in Newmarket.
This is Robar’s second time doing a fundraising walk and she said it’s been a good opportunity to explore the town.
“I got to explore Newmarket a lot more. I moved here in 2018 so it kind of gave me the opportunity to get out and walk longer distances and just see the town,” she said. “They can do something like that, explore an area that they haven’t seen before.”
If you want to participate in the walk you can contact Robar’s mom, Melodie and send your $10 donation to firstname.lastname@example.org.
While Cable is still away for training, Robar said she will be participating with her current service dog, Kira, who is getting ready to retire.
The pair have been together for eight and a half years and Robar said the retirement will be bittersweet for both of them, however, Kira will be able to explore her own passions like dock-diving when she has more off time.
Robar said she expects Cable’s training will be done next October and hopes this upcoming fundraiser will help them along the way.
“The community has been really great,” she said, adding that they’ve had a number of dogs & their human companions signing up so far.
She said she hopes to see more people joining the winter walk.
Throughout December, she has another fundraiser running where you can donate to get a spot on a prize wheel. They spin it every Thursday and if the wheel lands on your name on draw-day you get to take home a prize while helping to support Robar.
On Dec. 2 they will spin for a $30 gift certificate to the Goulash House and another spin for a gingerbread ornament from Quirk Society. Then on Dec. 9 the prize is a set of two colourful stools by Dunn Reimagined Designs. Finally on Dec. 16 they will spin for a gift bag from Natural Life.
You can also email Melodie Robar to take part in those fundraisers as well and visit their website.