Taoiseach launches Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind’s one day national fundraising campaign

April 18, 2019 0

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar launched the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind’s one day national fundraising campaign Guide Dog Day which takes place on Friday 10 May. Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind is a national charity dedicated to helping people living with sight loss or autism improve their mobility and independence. Guide Dog Day will focus on the organisation’s clients, their families and volunteers sharing their stories about the difference Guide and Assistance Dogs have had in their lives and community.

irish_guide_dogs_for_the_blindSpeaking at the launch An Taoiseach said: “We can all take our sight for granted, and not realise how important it is in daily life. Irish Guide Dogs does vital work for people right across Ireland, providing dogs for people living with sight loss, and also for children with autism. I know the organisation is determined to provide services for even more people this year, so I encourage everyone to get involved in Guide Dog Day on Friday 10 May. You can offer to buy a Guide Dog Day pin, volunteer to help out on the day, or donate online at www.guidedogs.ie/donate.”

Key facts about Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind:

  • It costs over €5million annually to provide our services.
  • More than 80% of income comes from fundraising and voluntary donations.
  • The cost of each Guide Dog partnership (breeding, training and maintenance) is almost €53,000.
  • Breeding Regeneration Programme has increased the number of pups coming through by over 50% in 2018 and 2019.

Telling their stories at the launch were:

Assistance Dog Owner Gemma Kane & her son Oliver, from County Dublin: “Before we got our Assistance Dog, my son Oliver would not leave the house. His anxiety levels were through the roof, he has no road sense so we couldn’t go out and do family things together. Since we got Marco life has become so much better. Within 3 months we ended up in our local playground every day. We have been able to go to the cinema, we have flown, he has been to see Santa and we have been to our local shopping centre numerous times. Marco has done so much for me and my family and I can never thank him enough. My whole family would be lost without him.”

Irish Para-cyclist and Guide Dog Owner Martin Gordon originally from Sligo and a board member of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind said: “Having a Guide Dog gave me the mobility and confidence I needed to complete secondary school and go on to university to pursue my dream of becoming a Barrister. My first Guide Dog Jake was with me every step of the way and I attribute all my success, whether small or big, to him and my current Guide Dog, Juno. Today, with Juno by my side, I am independent and can live my life to the full, both professionally and personally. I never could have dreamed that I would be heading to the UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in the Netherlands next month or aiming for Tokyo 2020.”

Puppy Raiser Laura Curtin from Blanchardstown, Dublin said: “Gaston is puppy No.6 in our house. I love Puppy Raising – it brings so much love and fun into our house and the added bonus is that we’re helping other people and families lead fuller lives.”

Puppy Raiser Patricia Lee from Maynooth, Kildare said:“Oonagh is the third puppy I have raised. Each pup brings pure joy, and mayhem, to my house and daily life. I love every single moment. Giving them back is hard but I know I am a very important part of a jigsaw and when I meet fully trained Guide Dogs with their owners, I can see the difference I have made.”

Patrick Burke, Chairman of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind said “Guide Dog Day will enable us to raise much needed funds and is a day to celebrate the difference our dogs make to those who are vision impaired and the families of children with autism who can lead independent lives. Our network of Branches, Clients, Volunteers, Puppy Raisers and Corporate supporters will be out in force across the country doing street collections, coffee mornings and various other fundraising activities. The public can help by giving 2 hours of their time on May 10th, buy a Guide Dog Day pin or donate online at www.guidedogs.ie/donate.”