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One a day Live

'When I needed a hand, I found a paw': Clients share stories ahead of Guide Dog Day

Irish Guide Dogs For The Blind are taking their fundraising efforts online in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Friday, May 8, marks Guide Dog Day - a day that helps the charity raise funds.

It is also 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 more independent lives.”

The charity says that Covid-19 has had “a significant impact” on them.

All community fundraising has been cancelled since March with the Guide Dogs saying it costs €5m a year to run the charity and €53,000 to train one guide dog.

They said 35 clients are awaiting services, 45 dogs are currently in training and 111 puppies are currently being puppy raised.

They added that there is a “high demand to open the 2020 Assistance Dog Programme which is planned for once social distancing restrictions are reduced.”

Guide Dogs have detailed seven ways people can donate for Guide Dog Day.

  • Text WOOF to 50300 to donate €4. (Text cost €4. Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind will receive a minimum of €3.60. Service Provider: LIKECHARITY. Helpline: 076 6805278.);
  • Donate online;
  • Set up an online fundraiser;
  • Donate by credit card (1850 506 300);
  • Post a cheque;
  • By electronic transfer;
  • Using in-store Chip & Pin or collection boxes.

The charity says Guide Dog Day 2020 is about clients sharing their stories.

’Pandy exceeded all our expectations’

Shaun and Pandy were matched in 2012 and Shaun’s mother Rose said before the dog, family outings were limited.

“It was a guaranteed certainty that Shaun would run off out on the road,” said Rose.

“Within a couple of months of Shaun’s diagnosis, my husband and I considered getting an Assistance Dog for him. We knew an Assistance Dog would keep Shaun safe in public places.

“In 2012, Assistance Dog Pandy secured herself into the very heart of our household.

“Shaun understands now he needs to stay safe and stay by Pandy’s side. He knows Pandy is looking after him.”

Rose added: “We found Pandy exceeded all our expectations. We knew an Assistance Dog would keep Shaun safe but Pandy completely broke Shaun’s bolting behaviour.

“We can now go out together as a family and Shaun is happy to stay by Pandy’s side.”

’I never realised how lost I was before she came into my life’

Shauna said that before she got a guide dog, she never liked to leave the house much.

“I always felt the need to be with someone or would have someone do something for me,” she said.

“I started college in September 2019 and I think that’s when I knew I really needed a Guide Dog. I found it extremely difficult on the bus as I travelled to and from college each day from Wexford to Waterford.

“I was a white cane user but as a teenager not many of my age group knew what it was for. I never felt confident.”

“With Esme I feel more confident than ever and never hesitate to go anywhere by myself.

I enjoy going out more and I have become so much more independent. Life with Esme now is like a walk in the park…literally.

“She gets me up in the mornings and we start our day.

“I never realised how lost I was before she came into my life. 

“Having a Guide Dog has changed my life in ways I could never imagine. When I needed a hand, I found a paw.”