Virtual Dog Walk to raise money for guide dogs
DOG lovers in Spain are being encouraged to grab their leads and put on their walking boots to join hundreds of other people in a virtual walk for charity.
To celebrate International Guide Dog Day (28th April) and raise funds for the ONCE Foundation for Guide Dogs (FOPG), Specsavers Ópticas is launching its Virtual Dog Walk 2021 initiative. Taking place between the 26th of April and the 2nd of May, this will be a chance to fund the vital work that this guide dog association does and allow dog owners to get involved with the campaign without concerns about social distancing and COVID-19 restrictions.
Representative for Specsavers Ópticas Jorge Martínez de Lizarduy Araico explains, ‘Due to the pandemic, we have sadly been unable to plan any big public events this past year to support our national chosen charity, the ONCE Foundation for Guide Dogs (FOPG). However, we are not going to be defeated by lockdown restrictions and have an exciting new campaign to raise vital funds for the charity – a virtual dog walk.
To put it simply, members of the public will be encouraged to walk their chosen distance with (or without) their dog and help raise money for FOPG. All they need to do is donate a minimum of 5€ to the charity in their local Specsavers Ópticas store and choose a walking route and distance that suits them – along the beach, in their local park, wide open spaces or just down their local streets. It’s entirely up to them.
Not only will this event raise much-needed funds for the charity, it will also increase awareness of the important work they do in breeding and training guide dogs and placing them with people with severe visual impairment in the community, enabling them to live the fullest lives possible. We have pledged to raise over 5,000€ for FOPG during 2021 and this will be an important event to help us to reach our goal and fund the training of the guide dogs, which are so essential.
To participate in the Virtual Dog Walk, visit your local Specsavers Ópticas store to make a donation to FOPG and collect your Virtual Dog Walk Certificate. There are stores in Javea, Calpe, Benidorm, Torrevieja, Guardamar and La Zenia on the Costa Blanca, Marbella and Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol and Santa Ponça in Mallorca. You can also donate online to join the event – simply go to https://donaciones.once.es/?web_id=fopg and put SPEC in the ‘segundo apellido’ section so we know you’re donating to our campaign.
Specsavers Ópticas want to see participants getting involved and share the love. They’re asking you to take a picture of your dog on their walk and tag @SpecsaversOpticas on Facebook or @specsaversspain on Instagram and the best will be shared to show our support for guide dogs.
Fundación ONCE del Perro Guía (FOPG) is a welfare foundation created by ONCE in 1990 with the purpose of breeding and training guide dogs for people with severe blindness or visual impairment. It provides its services to people with visual disabilities throughout Spain, by virtue of the collaboration with ONCE itself, and offers the guide dog as a free social service for people affiliated with that organisation who request it and are eligible.
The FOPG is a permanent member of the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF), the European Guide Dog Federation (EGDF) and the European Breeding Network, a working group specialised in the breeding and genetic improvement of guide dogs in Europe and the USA.
The foundation breeds its own dogs and takes responsibility for the entire process of training the guide dog and pairing it with the most suitable applicant. They also train the new owner how to make best use of this mobility aid and supports both the owner and the dog throughout its life as a guide dog.
The work of this foundation is essential to increase the autonomy of blind people or those with a serious visual disability. Changing from walking with a cane to doing it with a guide dog represents a huge improvement in their mobility, speed and security of their movements and allows them to integrate with society in a much more meaningful way.