Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides

Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides and its founding program, Canine Vision Canada, was established in 1983. It’s the largest school of its kind in Canada with its training school in Oakville and breeding facility in Breslau.

Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides empowers Canadians living with disabilities to navigate their world with confidence and independence, by providing a Dog Guide at no cost and supporting them in their journey together.

Together, we are transforming the way people live by creating exceptional partnerships between people and Dog Guides. These Dog Guides are provided at no cost to eligible Canadians from coast-to-coast.

Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides operates under the highest standards.

Lions Foundation of Canada is a founding member of the Canadian Association of Guide & Assistance Dog Schools and an accredited member of International Guide Dog Federation and Assistance Dogs International.

Lions Foundation of Canada is recognized as a member of Imagine Canada’s Standards of Excellence program, a charitable organization that meets the highest standards for accountability and openness in its fundraising practices and policies.

With no government funding, we rely on the support of fundraising events and donations from service clubs, corporations, foundations and individuals.

Foster families receive full training and support from Dog Guides and must live within a maximum of 75 minutes from our Oakville or Breslau (Kitchener-Waterloo / Guelph area) training facilities. 

If the puppy successfully completes training, the foster family will be invited to attend a graduation ceremony to meet the person who has been matched with their new Dog Guide!

Some of our Dog Guides in training may exhibit signs of stress due to the kennel environment, and ultimately that could interfere with progression in their training program – enter our Day School program! 

Day School volunteers bring the dog back and forth to our training facility Monday-Friday, and provide housing for the dog each weekend, including statutory holidays.

Provide a Dog Guide in training a break from kennel.  The in-training dog may be exhibiting signs of stress due to the kennel environment, interfering with progression in their training program.  Volunteers would bring the dog back and forth to our training facility Monday-Friday, and would provide housing for the dog each weekend, including statutory holidays.

Do you want to help us prepare Diabetes Alert Dog Guides for their careers? This program is a rare opportunity for volunteers to assist directly in the training of our dogs. 

Transitional Homes are volunteer households where at least one person has Type 1 Diabetes and is willing to bring home an adult dog nearing the completion of training for approximately 7-14 days. 

This is a vital step to test the in-training Diabetes Alert Dog Guides’ (DAD) ability to alert to live lows in a home environment.

Sharing information about important causes goes a long way in spreading awareness of organizations that are making a difference and improving lives. Please support Dog Guides by liking, following and subscribing to their online social platforms and share these links with family, friends and even colleagues. Every engagement matters and boost visibility for them. Thank you!

Please visit their website to sign up for their monthly newsletter to keep informed on program updates, news, and how they are making a difference.


Dog Guides are trained to assist Canadians with a wide range of disabilities. There are SEVEN programs that prepare dogs to offer their handlers greater independence, mobility and safety.

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Provide safety, companionship and love to help children and their families gain more independence and social interaction.

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Dogs trained for professional agencies provide comfort to victims or witnesses of a crime or sudden tragedy.

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Assist people who are deaf or hard of hearing by providing an increased sense of security through alerting and/or leading handlers to important sounds.

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Help create an increased sense of mobility for handlers who are blind or visually impaired.

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Recognize and react to the onset of frequent seizures to help their handlers feel secure.

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Increase independence of handlers with physical and medical disabilities (open and close doors, retrieve dropped items, etc).

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When they detect sudden drops in their handler’s blood sugar, they alert them, retrieve the diabetic kit and food and provide comfort after an episode.

  • Donate to the Pet Valu Walk for Dog Guides until June 30th, 2024
  • Join the Pet Valu Walk for Dog Guides or other fundraiser events
  • Sponsor a Dog Guide team
  • Follow the foundation on social media and share their content
  • Memorial donations
  • For more details, visit the HOW TO HELP section.
Single or monthly donations accepted.

Single or monthly donations accepted.

The Pet Valu Walk for Dog Guides is a national fundraising walk held in local communities in each province across Canada. 

It raises funds to help Lions Foundation of Canada continue to fulfill its mission of empowering Canadians with disabilities. 

Did you know that Dog Guides has a Wish List? Dog Guides Canada is a national charity that receives zero government funding, so they’re always looking for specific items for Dog Guides in training, their clients and for the facilities. If you’d like to donate items to the foundation, please view their wish list.

SD team | Rick & Nikana – Nanaimo, BC

The name “Nikana” means “My friend” in the Aboriginal language spoken by the Potawatomi people, and Service Dog Guide Nikana has definitely been a wonderful friend to Rick. They have been best friends since meeting each other in March. Having Nikana by his side has allowed Rick to be more independent when going out.

“Nikana has helped me a great deal in malls, such as opening automatic doors when my hands are full, says Rick. “With Nikana, I’m not scared of dropping items outside my home. One time I was at the grocery store dealing with the cashier and didn’t realize I dropped my keys. When I was ready to leave, I looked at Nikana and she had my keys, in her mouth, ready to give to me. Amazing.”

DAD teams | Ellen & Vesper – Toronto, ON

Since being matched with Diabetes Alert Dog Guide Vesper, Ellen has never felt safer. Having Vesper by her side has meant freedom and independence.

“Vesper has made every single day of my life easier since we met,” says Ellen. “She catches my lows earlier than technology does, and in doing so, saves me from dangerous blood sugar levels.”

Only a couple weeks after their training, Ellen recalls an unforgettable trip to Ikea when Vesper alerted her several times around the store. “While I was shopping, Vesper sat suddenly and alerted me by nudging my leg. I checked and I was low. I watched my blood sugar recover and went back to shopping. Maybe 20 minutes later she started alerting me again. I was so confused because I had just treated, and could even still taste the sugar tablets I took! I checked and my blood sugar was dropping fast. That day could have turned dangerous really fast if I had not had Vesper with me. She is so attentive and always looks out for me wherever we are.”

“Being matched with Vesper has been truly life-changing… and maybe even life-saving.”


Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides Volunteers Collaboratively Donated

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Provide Love, Socialization
and Basic Training in a Safe,
Nurturing Environment

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Walk and Play with Dogs,
Groom Dogs or Assist
Instructors During Training

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Host Fundraisers,
Participate in / Organize Events
or Offer Administrative Assistance

Our Future Heroes