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Danika hugging a Lab/Golden Retriever cross in a yellow harness.

Dollars for Dogs: Mary Weingarden

Windsor woman gives gift of independence through CNIB Guide Dogs

By Shannon Simpson, Director, Marketing & Communications, CNIB Guide Dogs

When CNIB Guide Dogs launched, Windsor's Mary Weingarden knew it was time to provide a transformational experience for someone with sight loss.

"I was researching organizations that trained service dogs on the very day that the program was launched,” says Mary. "When I discovered that the guide dog handlers would not have to pay for their dog, the training or the follow-up support because all costs would be covered through charitable donations, my decision was made. I wanted to support a program that truly helped someone – CNIB Guide Dogs was the perfect fit."

A guide dog can provide an unparalleled level of mobility, freedom and confidence — showcasing the world in a whole new way.

"About 20 years ago, I met a wonderful woman at a summer course. She used a guide dog very comfortably and the two of them interacted seamlessly with the rest of the class. Whether it was at school, a party or a dance, they went everywhere together, and they travelled frequently by subway," says Mary. "Needless to say, I was impressed by her level of independence with a guide dog."

In recognition of her gift, Weingarden had an opportunity to name one of the first dogs in the program. She chose Ulysses in commemoration of a beloved pet who passed away.

Ulysses and his handler, Danika, graduated in November 2018. You’ll find their success story at