Sharon Lambert, seen here with service dog Toby on Dec. 11, 2020, has set up a fundraiser to help pay for the costs of training him and so he can hopefully live with her full-time. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Sharon Lambert, seen here with service dog Toby on Dec. 11, 2020, has set up a fundraiser to help pay for the costs of training him and so he can hopefully live with her full-time. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

B.C. organization looking for donations to help get service dog into home of Fraser Valley woman

Epic Service Dogs is hoping to give a Christmas miracle to Sharon Lambert of Chilliwack

A B.C.-based organization that provides funding for people who need service dogs is putting out a desperate call for donations to get a canine into the home of a Chilliwack woman.

Epic Service Dogs, a registered non-profit organization in Victoria, is currently paying for the costs of Toby, a standard poodle who helps Sharon Lambert of Chilliwack.

Lambert suffers from mild brain damage, PTSD, anxiety and depression as a result of a 2009 car collision in Vancouver.

“I was running out into the road screaming at cars. I turned into a swearing machine which wasn’t like me at all,” Lambert recalled.

She’s on medication to help with her condition, but when she met Toby as a puppy a year and a half ago, she was introduced to a new kind of relief.

“Toby is something that’s non-medication that’s able to help me with my depression especially.”

He is owned by Vancouver Island K9 Consulting & Training (known as VI K9). Although the company is based in Victoria, Toby’s trainer is in Mission. He is still being trained and lives part time with Lambert for seven days at a time before going back to his trainer.

He’s a year and a half old and it will take three years to fully train him, which comes at a cost.

That’s where Epic Service Dogs comes in. Not only does Epic pay for the cost of training Toby, but they also help pay for his food, medical bills and items like the service harness he has to wear ($350 to $500).

Depending on what the dog is being trained for at VI K9, the price tag can range anywhere from $25,000 to $45,000 over the course of the three years of training. For Toby, it’s about $35,000.

Some people get funding for service dogs from the government or from organizations that specialize in that person’s disability (such as autism). In B.C., in order for someone with PTSD to qualify for government funding, that person has to be a first responder or in the military.

“I kind of fall through the cracks in that I’m not part of the military or a first responder,” Lambert said, which is why Epic is helping her.

Sharon Lambert, seen here with service dog Toby on Dec. 11, 2020, has set up a fundraiser to help pay for the costs of training him and so he can hopefully live with her full-time. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

Sharon Lambert, seen here with service dog Toby on Dec. 11, 2020, has set up a fundraiser to help pay for the costs of training him and so he can hopefully live with her full-time. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)

But when COVID-19 hit, the funds coming in to Epic Service Dogs slowed right down.

To make things worse, the chair of Epic was in a motorcycle crash in November, making raising money and awareness for the organization even more difficult.

“It’s been blow after blow for us,” said Epic vice chair Tiffany Thomas.

Epic is actually in debt right now with VI K9, but she speaks highly of the owner, Tyson King, who’s also a veteran.

“He’s been so kind and been so patient, but patience runs out and I get that,” Thomas said. “We need help.”

Lambert has now set up a GoFundMe to “kick things into gear and pull at people’s heartstrings” at Christmastime.

She’s hoping people will donate money so Epic can pay VI K9 to continue to train Toby in order for him to be with Lambert every day.

“The hope was, as of Jan. 1, that we would have him full time. That would be the ideal plan,” Lambert said.

When Toby is not with her, it’s hard for Lambert to get out of bed.

One of the coping mechanisms she uses to deal with her condition is getting out, socializing and talking to people, but that’s not doable in the midst of a pandemic.

“Especially with COVID, I need Toby more than I had before. He gets me out walking and moving,” Lambert said. “The days I don’t have him, I find very dark and difficult.”

Lambert’s three kids see firsthand the positive effects Toby has on her when he’s around.

“They make comments like ‘Mom, you go grocery shopping more often whenever you have Toby,’ or ‘you’re out of bed more often and I can see you and spend more time with you,’” Lambert said.

The entire family loves having Toby around and Lambert is wishing for a Christmas miracle so she can have him full-time.

“I love the funny noises he makes when he sniffs you and I love cuddling up with him on the couch. He’s nice and warm, and comfortable and calming. He’s a very calming presence.”

To donate to the cause, go to gofundme.com/f/save-toby-the-service-dog. Additionally, people can drop cash into one of the coin tins located at: Bosley’s (18-6014 Vedder Rd.), Garrison Pharmacy (1-45555 Market Way), Cell Phones ‘n More (4-45575 Keith Wilson Rd.), and Merci Coffee Truck in Garrison.

Note: An earlier version of this story referred to Epic as a charity. Epic is a registered non-profit organization. The Progress regrets the error and any confusion it may have caused.

RELATED: Mac the UFV therapy dog now available in stuffie form


 

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on?
Email: jenna.hauck@theprogress.com
Twitter: @PhotoJennalism

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Dogsfundraiser

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Members of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 53 gathered at the Duncan Cenotaph on April 9 to commemorate the First World War Battle of Vimy Ridge. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Cowichan Valley veterans remember Battle of Vimy Ridge

Members of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 53 gather at Duncan Cenotaph

City workers from Duncan were busy recently putting up street signs in both Hul’q’umi’num’ and English. (Submitted photo)
Hul’q’umi’num signs installed in downtown Duncan

Project a partnership between City of Duncan, DDBIA and Cowichan Tribes

Crofton Fire Department members on the scene of Twin Gables fire in February of 2020. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Citizens’ group calls for action at Crofton’s Twin Gables Motel

Crofton waterfront site called an eyesore and a nuisance property

North Cowichan is looking for public input through a survey as it updates its Master Transportation Plan. (File photo)
North Cowichan looking for public input on transportation

Online survey to be held until April 22

(Government of Canada)
Liberal MP caught stark naked during House of Commons video conference

William Amos, in Quebec, appeared on the screens of his fellow members of Parliament completely naked

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Feb. 1, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps to 1,168 Wednesday, nearly 400 in hospital

Now 120 coronavirus patients in intensive care, six more deaths

Moss covered branches are seen in the Avatar Old Growth Forest near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, B.C. Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. blockades aimed at protecting old-growth forests reveal First Nation split

Two Pacheedaht chiefs say they’re ‘concerned about the increasing polarization over forestry activities’ in the territory

Richmond RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng said, in March, the force received a stand-out number of seven reports of incidents that appeared to have “racial undertones.” (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
‘Racially motivated’ incidents on the rise in B.C’s 4th largest city: police

Three incidents in Richmond are currently being invested as hate crimes, says RCMP Chief Superintendent Will Ng

Commercial trucks head south towards the Pacific Highway border crossing Wednesday (April 14, 2021). The union representing Canadian border officers wants its members to be included on the frontline priority list for the COVID-19 vaccine. (Aaron Hinks photo)
CBSA officers’ union calls for vaccine priority in B.C.

Border officers at ports including, YVR and land crossings should ‘not be left behind’

(Amandalina Letterio - Capital News)
Kelowna demonstrators show support for Vancouver Island logging activists

Two Kelowna men stood atop a pedestrian bridge on Harvey Avenue to raise awareness about old-growth forests

A still from the video taken of a violent arrest on May 30, 2020 in downtown Kelowna. (File)
Kelowna Mountie charged with assault for caught-on-camera violent arrest

Const. Siggy Pietrzak was filmed punching a suspected impaired driver at least 10 times during an arrest

Homicide investigators who asked not to be identified put up signs Wednesday, April 14, along the Nanaimo Parkway in the area where a body was found March 31. RCMP are asking for witnesses or dash cam footage as the suspicious death has now been ruled a homicide. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Suspicious death along the highway in Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

RCMP identify victim as Randell Charles Thomas, repeat call for any information related to the case

Most Read