The Great Gatsby 2010-2020

July 12, 2020 0

We are very sorry to tell you that The Great Gatsby passed over the rainbow bridge on Thursday 2nd July peacefully in Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind Headquarters in Cork.  Gatsby, or Gats, as Tom called him, was one of a kind.  He was loved by everyone who met him and by Tom in particular.  He guided Tom for almost 8 wonderful years and was looking forward to his retirement when illness suddenly overtook him.

Gatsby the irish guide dog with Tom ONeillWe’ve all seen Gatsby with Tom around the streets of Balbriggan, Skerries, Longford, Dublin and further afield.  Gatsby was a fantastic tutor to the many students he visited with Tom in various schools and colleges around the country.  Among other events he accompanied Tom along with Qeb, Breege’s guide dog, and Yarrow, puppy in training, with Anne Mulligan, to Skerries Community College in 2019 and 2020.

He was a brilliant fundraiser for the Balbriggan North County Dublin Branch of IGDB and if Tom couldn’t attend an event Gatsby went along willingly with whoever was trusted with him.  Anne Mulligan local puppy raiser was one of his favorite people.  Once he saw Anne he knew that it was time for his free run.  He loved going to Ardgillan Park, the beach, Longford and many other places.  Gatsby knew when he was working and when he was playing and thoroughly enjoyed his life.  He always had a waggy tail waiting to greet anyone and everyone who called to the house. 

Gatsby joined the O’Neill household when he was about 2 years old.  Unice, Breege’s guide dog at the time, was a great help to Tom when Gatsby arrived as she taught Gatsby, among other things, the route to his son Eoins house.  Gatsby returned the favour when he welcomed young Qeb into the family in December 2018, co-incidentally he arrived on the day Unice, Breege’s retired Guide Dog, went over the rainbow bridge herself.  Gatsby helped Qeb become familiar with his new surroundings, locality and family. 

Gatsby was in Longford, one of his favorite places, with Tom and Breege for a few days when he started to deteriorate.  Tom was in contact with IGDB in Cork and they offered to collect Gatsby from Longford to bring him to Cork for medical care and assessment.  Unfortunately it was found that Gatsby had Lymphatic cancer which had spread and could not be treated so it was decided to let him pass peacefully.  Gatsby never showed his illness and was with Tom every step of the way.  Check out the video below where you will hear Tom talk about Gatsby and their important bond and relationship. 

There are so many happy memories of Gatsby, lots of stories to be told but they are for another day.   Take a look back at a lovely Valentine’s Day interview on TV3’s Ireland AM which featured Tom, Gatsby, Breege and Unice below.

Gatsby will be sorely missed by Tom, Breege, their family and the extended family of volunteers who knew and loved him.  Have a wonderful time over the rainbow bridge Gatsby. 

If you would like to help raise much needed funds for Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind as a volunteer there are many ways to do this.  Please contact us on 085 7663107 by text or phone call or email GuideDogsBalbriggan@gmail.com

You can also Text WOOF to 50300 to donate €4 of which IGDB will receive a minimum of €3.60 or you can log on to www.guidedogs.ie and donate there.

Many thanks and best wishes from branch co-ordinators Elaine Skehan and Anne Mulligan on behalf of Tom.