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Laura O'Connell, Breeding Co-ordinator at Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind.Pic: Larry Cummins
Laura O'Connell, Breeding Co-ordinator at Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind.Pic: Larry Cummins
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List for assistance dogs to re-open next month

A CHARITY which has changed the lives of families across Cork is set to reopen its application waiting list next Monday.

Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind has announced that the waiting list for the provision of Assistance Dogs for families of children with autism will re-open at noon on Monday.

The charity, based on Model Farm Road, was forced to close waiting lists in recent years because they could not keep up with demand for its services.

However, it is now in a position to reopen the lists for a limited number of applicants.

In order to provide a deliverable service within one year from now, the charity has said that the first sixty applications who reach phase one of matching criteria will be placed on the new waiting list.

“To be fair to all hoping for an assistance dog, the application form cannot be submitted until noon on Monday, March 4,” it said in a statement.

Patrick Burke, Chairman of the charity, said: “We are delighted to re-open our waiting list and it is our intention to open the list annually based on the success of our Breeding Regeneration Programme, which has increased the number of pups coming through by more than 50% in 2018 and 2019.

“I want to say a big thank you to all our breeders, puppy raisers, volunteers and staff who have made it possible to get to this day and give us all the opportunity to change the lives of more families through the wonderful gift of an assistance dog.”

Assistance dogs help to control and improve the behaviour of a child with autism by promoting calmness and acting as a safety aid to the parents.

With the help of assistance dogs, family outings can become less stressful as the specially trained dogs allow families to enjoy greater freedom and mobility.

Details of the process, including the application form and criteria, are available at www.guidedogs.ie.