On most days, customers at the IGA Eastview food store are greeted by a friendly face.
That was until last week, when an inaninate donation dog was stolen from the property and found heavily damaged nearby, with the money gone.
Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind events co-ordinator Steven Doucette said although they occasionally have theft issues with the donation dogs, this is the first time in 20 years he can remember one of them being stolen.
“Last week, a brazen thief smashed the store window and ran off with the donation dog. It was later recovered in a nearby school playground, but it was smashed open and completely destroyed,” he said in an email.
Doucette said the organization is already struggling for donations as it is, and the $200 cost to replace the dog at IGA is a tough one to stomach.
“Already struggling with donation dog revenue dropping to nearly zero, Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind lost what funds were still in the dog from before COVID-19, and now faces the cost of replacing the guide dog unit,” he said.
Doucette added he understands that times are tough for everybody, but just wishes people would not hurt causes that are designed to help others.
In Red Deer, the organization has six donation dogs in various locations. Doucette explained that at the IGA Eastview outlet in particular, the donation dog has been a favourite among customers.
“IGA Eastview started participating in the program in November 2018 by displaying a dog for customers to donate. The life-sized guide dog model has become a favourite for kids who want to ‘feed the dog’,” he added.
Those interested in learning more about Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind, can check out www.guidedogs.ca.