Sunday, May 31, 2009

Event set up for the visually impaired

The fifth annual Woof to Woof is fast approaching and organizers are seeking more vendors, as well as Lassie look-alikes, for the June 6 event.

"We will have John Provost, the actor, director and author who most people know as Timmy' for the show Lassie," said Nels Westman, event organizer. "He will judge the Lassie look-alike contest."

Admission, parking and entry into various dog-centric events, such as the Lassie look-alike contest, are free. The event aims to raise money for the Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Santa Cruz, Westman said.

There also will be demonstrations by the Canine Companions for Independence, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Dogs4Diabetes and more, said Westman. The assistant dog shows are new to the five-year-old event.

"Money for the center will be raised from revenues from the retail sales and vendor space rentals, as well as a raffle, silent auction, food concessions and corporate sponsors," Westman said. "We'll also have donation boxes all around for people to drop money in."

So far, the event has about 40 dog-specific vendors, including groomers, the SPCA, and others who seek to show off their services and wares, Westman said.

Located on Laurel Street, Vista Center plans to use the funds to serve the more than 1,900 clients that seek assistance annually.

"Most of our services are done on sliding scale fee because Medicare and Medi-Cal don't pay for exams and optical aids," said Briya Serrano, program assistant.

For 22 years, the center has been providing clients with vision exams and the skills they need to function at home and in public, Serrano said.

"We help people sort out their laundry, how to set up a kitchen so they can cook their meals and how to use canes because there's a different method for indoors and outdoors," she added.


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