A fun afternoon for a good cause is promised on Sunday September 25, when the Laois branch of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind host a dog walk in Portlaoise.
The Laois branch is hold ing the fundraising walk to celebrate their thirtieth birthday.
Richard Connell from Portlaoise is a branch member since the start.
“It will be a fun family day out for dogs and their owners. We hope to provide free advice on petcare, prizes for the best dogs, and hopefully a special guest,” he said.
The walk sets off from the Petmania store in Portlaoise Retail park at 2.30pm.
It will go in a short loop via the Southern Circular road, Stradbally road, New Road and then back to Petmania.
Dogs of all shapes and sizes are welcomed along, as long as they are on a lead and sociable.
The Laois branch started 30 years ago when a small group met in the Horse and Hound pub, now Grellan Delaneys.
Soon afterwards the first person in Laois received a guide dog.
Since then many have had their lives changed says Richard.
“Guide dogs make an enormous difference and give people independence. Right now five people in Laois have guide dogs and one family has an autism assistance dog, with a waiting list for more dogs,” he said.
It is expensive to produce a guide dog.
“ It costs €38,000 to train and monitor a dog over its working life of about nine years, and the service is free to clients,” he said.
In total, there are 18 clients of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind in Laois, as many people have taken part in Independent Living Skills Programs, Orientation and Mobility Programs and a next step program.
The national charity relies on 80 percent of its income from donations.
“People in Laois have been very supportive over the past thirty years,” said Richard, who himself has climbed mountains around the world to raise money for the charity.
Sponsorship cards are now available in Petmania to fill out, or a donation can simply be made on the day of the walk.
For more information contact Richard on 087 2776450 or see www.guidedogs.ie