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Okotoks gala to help veteran get a service dog

The 'Dinner for a Dog' gala will be held at the Okotoks Centennial Centre on April 19.
Juno-nominated country singer Julian Austin, whose song "Little Ol' Kisses" hit number one on the Canada Country Tracks chart in 1997, is performing at the 'Dinner for a Dog' gala.

Community members will be coming together to help a veteran get a service dog.

Dubbed "Dinner for a Dog," the fundraiser will be in the form of a gala with musical performances, speeches, an auction, a live painting by High River artist Russell Thomas and more.

Tanya Douglas, one of the event's organizers, is excited to be helping the veteran, who wishes not to be named, get a service dog.

"They really help somebody, especially when they are struggling with PTSD, just go out and do normal tasks," said Douglas. "Going to the bank, doctors, airports, you know, those high stress environments that inevitably the military guys have kind of trauma around. So that's kind of our aim."

Big Rock Labradoodles has donated a dog for the veteran, with the $20,000 fundraising goal being to get the dog the training it needs for its role.

Douglas said that a labradoodle will be a great fit for the veteran's service dog, as labradoodles were specifically bred to accompany people with allergies to other breeds. 

Canadian country singer Julian Austin, whose work has been nominated for multiple Juno Awards, is headlining the event.

"Julian Austin has volunteered his services and is going to be singing for us," said Douglas. "He went and did a concert out in Afghanistan, so he has always been volunteering his time with the military."

Austin will be joined by Calgary-based Aaron The DJ.

The gala will additionally feature an auction as part of the fundraising portion, with a painting by Thomas being one of the items on the block. 

"He's going to be doing a painting live at the gala itself, and then we're going to be auctioning that off during the evening," said Douglas.

The gala will additionally be attended by Okotoks Mayor Tanya Thorn, Highwood MLA RJ Sigurdson and other prominent community members. Catering will be provided by JRRR BBQ.

The "Dinner for a Dog" fundraiser is happening on April 19 from 6 to 11 p.m. at Foothills Centennial Centre. Learn more and get tickets, starting at $100, here

Amir Said

About the Author: Amir Said

Amir Said is a reporter and photographer with the Western Wheel.
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