Ford of Canada makes a Paw-sitive Impact for The Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides

Jun 19, 2024

It’s not every day that Ford of Canada can add “furry friends” to their list of customers served, but thanks to a devoted team of Ford of Canada employees, The Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides (LFCDG) is back in full operation with two new Ford Transit vans!

Dog Guides in Need

The LFCDG is a national not-for-profit foundation, located in Oakville and Breslau, Ontario, that is dedicated to providing Dog Guides at no cost to Canadians with a wide range of disabilities. Last year, the Foundation found themselves in desperate need of a new vehicle fleet after their own were beyond the point of repair. Transporting their dogs and clients between locations, they required reliable and wheelchair accessible vehicle transportation. Available in multiple configurations to meet business needs, the Ford Transit was the perfect fit for Dog Guides, offering sliding doors with easy access to cargo space and capacity for racks, bins, and supplies.

Ford of Canada Rallies Together

When Dana Goodfellow, Ford PRO marketing manager, got the call from a friend sharing the Foundation’s need for new vehicles, she jumped into action. Knowing that Transits are in high demand (for example, sales were up in Canada 50.9% year-to-date as of the end of May), it took collaboration between a few different teams across Ford of Canada to set the ball in motion.

“It took a village to secure these two Ford Transit vans, but the team got it done,” said Goodfellow. “This is the perfect example of a team that lives and breathes the Ford+ plan and Ford OS Behaviours. Their always-on approach to relationship building is what allowed us to facilitate and support such a wonderful cause and I’m proud of the team for their work to help the Foundation.”

Working alongside Goodfellow, Andrew Smith, national service operations for Ford of Canada, was a key driver for the success of this initiative. As a dedicated foster parent for the LFCDG, it pained him to see the beat up vans the Foundation was using. When some roadblocks were reached, Andrew took it upon himself to connect with David Nourse at Kennedy Dealership and Bev Goodman, president and CEO of Ford of Canada, who involved Sales and Ford Pro members, Dean Geddes and Greg Watkins. It was a true team effort that enabled them to successfully secure the in-demand Transit vehicles for the LFCDG and the betterment of the community.

“As one of the largest schools for dog guides in Canada, we heavily rely on our vehicles to service our clients, staff and service dogs on a day-to-day basis,” said Maria Galindo, director of marketing and communications, Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides. “Thanks to the employees at Ford that recognized our needs and helped to spread the word, we were able to resume operations smoothly with the delivery of our brand-new Transits.”

As of January 2024, months before the foundation hoped to have new support vehicles, two Ford Transits were received and were immediately put to work. In fact, LFCDG have nearly 100 staff members and clients currently making excellent use of the vans on a regular basis, allowing them to service their clients efficiently, with the ability to transport five dogs at once.

At Ford, this is an excellent example of how we emphasize our always-on relationships with guests, how we can best serve them, and consistently deliver value through teamwork as part of our Ford+ plan.

Foster Parent Pro

Andrew Smith, national service operations, Ford of Canada, fell in love with the program after speaking with a friend that had fostered 15 puppies. He has now been a foster parent for The LFCDG for more than a year and a half. He fostered his last puppy, named Quarry, for 16 months in 2022 before he was accepted into the Dog Vision program. The COVID pandemic allowed Andrew to be at home and care for Quarry during this time. Thanks to Andrew for making an impact and stepping up to involve Ford employees for positive change.

Fast Facts - LFCDG:

  • Dog Guides produce 100 graduates per year
  • On average, a service dog’s career spans 6-8 years
  • There is a 1.5-year commitment to be a foster parent of service Dog Guides
  • Over 1,000 active Dog Guide teams are being supported across the country
  • Dog Guides offers seven specialized training programs (Hearing, Seizure Response, Service, Autism Assistance, Diabetes Alert, Facility Support, and Canine Vision)
  • Dog Guides train golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers, and standard poodle breeds
  • The Foundation’s goal is to enhance the quality of life and independence for individuals living with a range of disabilities