By: Michelle Poirier
The Howard & Delores Beck Puppy Development Centre will open in Georgina as a centre to support, socialize and train future CNIB Foundation guide dogs.
A formal sign unveiling was held on September 25 at the future location of the centre, 4907 Baseline Rd, with Mayor Quirk and municipal councillors were in attendance.
“When the CNIB first reached out to me expressing interest in coming to Georgina, I was very excited. Not just from an investment perspective, but all of the opportunities that having them in our community will bring,” Mayor Quirk said.
“This new centre presents an opportunity for the public to learn more about the importance of these guide dogs and the difference that a guide dog can make for someone.”
Diane Bergeron, president of CNIB Guide Dogs, said they have received a warm welcome from the Georgina community.
“Georgina is a close-knit and welcoming town, and our hope is that the puppy development centre will serve as a community space for residents to learn more about guide dogs and blindness, participate in educational workshops, work with dogs and volunteer with us,” she said.
Bergeron said the process of training a guide dog begins before birth, with animals’ bread to have the needed traits.
“At our puppy development centre, we’ll be able to socialize dogs born on-site to a range of sounds, scents, tactile sensations, including human touch, and atmospheres they will encounter throughout their life as a future guide dog.”
Delores Beck is described by Bergeron as a lifelong animal lover and dog owner who has donated over $6 million to support the CNIB Guide Dogs program. Her late husband, Howard Beck, was a highly esteemed attorney, and Delores made the donation in his honour.
“CNIB is honoured to celebrate Howard’s life with the transformational giving in his name through Mrs. Beck’s unprecedented generosity towards CNIB Guide Dogs,” Bergeron said.
According to Bergeron the centre is currently undergoing assessments and permit approvals, but they hope to have shovels in the ground by the end of 2024, with a grand opening slated for 2025.
“While our doors aren’t officially opened, CNIB Guide Dogs is always in need of volunteer puppy raisers and boarders. Puppy raising and boarding is a rewarding volunteer opportunity filled with unconditional love that changes many lives,” Bergeron said.
For more information on volunteering or donating to CNIB Guide Dogs you can visit www.cnibguidedogs.ca.
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