National Service Dogs (NSD) has had one mission since its official launch in 1996: to enrich the quality of life and enhance the independence of children and families living with autism and special needs by providing them with specially trained Labrador and Golden Retrievers.
Every Good Friday, NSD holds the Annual Easter Egg Hunt for Dogs in seven cities across Ontario, including London, Kitchener, Guelph and Brampton. This year's event was also expanded to Alberta for the first time, with a hunt in Calgary.
Owners and their furry friends collect pledges to raise as much money as possible -- but they also have a chance to take home a prize as well. Thousands of plastic eggs are filled with dog treats and hidden throughout a local park for the dogs to find. Each egg also contains a coloured sticker which represents a chance to win one of the hundreds of prizes. Participants are given two egg cartons at the start of the hunt, and can collect up to 24 eggs.
There are two ways in which registrants can win - grand prizes will be awarded to the three individuals with the highest dollar value of pledges collected per location and the second way is dependent on who finds a gold or silver egg.
With the completion of NSD's Building Paws-Abilities Capital Project, the organization is in a position to place 40 new autism service dogs annually while continuing to service past graduates and their service dogs. The goal for this year was to raise $110,000. Last year, NSD's Annual Easter Egg Hunt for Dogs raised up to $90,000.