By Karin McArthur, Lead, Marketing & Communications, CNIB Foundation Ontario
Sponsoring a puppy was an easy decision for Mary and John Crocker, long-time supporters of CNIB.
"When we learned CNIB Guide Dogs believes everyone who would like to have a guide dog should have that opportunity, regardless of financial circumstances, we decided to become a sponsor," says Mary. "It's gratifying to know exactly where our sponsorship contribution goes."
Thanks to the generosity of individuals like Mary and John, CNIB Guide Dogs covers the raising, training and matching costs as well as the veterinary bills. In recognition of their sponsorship, the Crockers had an opportunity to name a dog in the program. They chose Queenie in honour of Mary's beloved childhood dog.
"Being a CNIB Guide Dogs sponsor is so rewarding. You see the results of your contribution. You learn how your dog is transforming the life of someone who is blind." says John. "You get to meet your puppy and attend training sessions. These dogs are so smart and lovable."
Queenie became a Buddy Dog – she's partnered with Mason, a 9-year-old boy with sight loss. Whether it’s feeding, grooming or walking this well-trained family pet, this will give Mason an opportunity to care for a dog and make it easier to transition into a guide dog partnership in the future.
"Hearing about Mason and his bond with Queenie was so touching. It's a pleasure knowing that our gift provides joy and companionship, says Mary. "It was heartwarming to read that Mason said he, like Queenie, had special needs and would take care of her, despite her medical problems. We know that Queenie will help Mason prepare for having a guide dog when he's older."
After following Queenie's journey from puppy to Buddy Dog, the Crockers will be sponsoring another dog, Sparkie, in honour of a radio program (Big John & Sparkie) that Mary listened to as a child. Sparkie will start training next year.
The Crockers' message to others who may be interested in supporting CNIB Guide Dogs is simple: any contribution helps.
"You're giving the gift of independence," say Mary and John.