Tipperary Launch of Irish Guide Dogs 2013 Calendar with Olympian Annalise Murphy

Olympian Annalise Murphy showed her support for Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind (IGDB) at their Fundraising Conference in the Killeshin hotel in Portlaoise where she launched  their 2013 Calendar.

 

Annalise spoke of her love for Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind. Annalises mother Cathy, who represented Ireland in sailing at the 1988 Olympic Games, has been a puppy walker for IGDB for many years with many of Cathy’s pups going on to become Guide and Assistance Dogs. They have seen firsthand how amazing these dogs are, Annalise also acknowledged the valuable work being done by the organisation’s fundraising volunteers across the country, praising their passion and commitment to helping people living with sight loss or autism.

 

Pictured with Olympic Sailor Annalise Murphy and Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind Chairman Alan Dukes are Tipp native Marguerite Tierney, Communications Manager with IGDB and Co-founder and President of IGDB Jim Dennehy.

Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind, Chief Executive, Padraig Mallon, said, “Our volunteers put a huge effort into selling our Calendars and Christmas cards each year it is our most successful fundraiser. Last year we raised over €300,000 all of it going towards funding our life changing services for blind and vision impaired persons and families of children with autism. We are hoping to sell 40,000 calendars this year; we will do so with the invaluable support of our volunteers and the generosity of the public who simply love our dogs.”

 

The 2013 calendar features shots of IGDBs dogs at work rest and play in beautiful surroundings. The sale of the Calendars raises significant funds for the organisation, all funds raised are reinvested directly into providing their services free of charge. The calendars would make a great Christmas present for all the dog lovers in your life. They can be purchased online at www.guidedogs.ie for €8 or by calling 1850 506 300 to place your order.

Some Facts

Services are provided free of charge and include the following:

  •       Guide Dogs Programme (for people who are blind and vision impaired)
  •       Assistance Dogs Programme (for families of children with Autism)
  •       Child Mobility Programme
  •       Orientation and Mobility Training (long cane training)
  •       Independent Living Skills Training (home skills, gardening, leisure)

Facts and Figures:

  • The organisation raises 85% of its annual income through fundraising and voluntary donations
  •   It is supported by a network of over 100 volunteering branches and many hundreds of volunteers across the country.
  •  It takes 2 years to train a Guide or Assistance Dog, who will go on to work for approximately 9 years.
  •   It costs approximately €38,000 to breed, train and support a single working dog partnership for the duration of its working life.
  •    All services are offered free of charge.

Birth

Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind (IGDB) owns five carefully selected stud dogs and 30 brood bitches that produce about 180 new puppies between them each year.

The bitches are kept by volunteers who care for the pups up to six weeks of age.

Puppy walking

Each pup is fostered out to a volunteer for around 12 months. Puppy walkers work on obedience training and socializing the puppies by bringing them on daily walks to help the dogs get used to the urban environment.

Early training

For three to five months, the dog is taught how to cross roads, stop at kerbs and avoid obstacles. The dog is brought into the city, to shopping centers, on buses, trains and lifts.

 

Advanced training

The dogs traits are assessed and used to match it with a person on the waiting list.

Matching and Qualifying

At 20-24 months old, the dog is almost fully trained, and must complete a three-week residential course with his newly matched owner to ensure they work well together.

 

Retirement

Guide dogs are usually retired at around 10 years of age, which can be difficult and emotional for both dog and owner. Sometimes the dog is kept as a pet but some go to other suitable homes.

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