Being involved with superheroes and a super team
I always wanted a dog but felt that it would be unfair to the dog to be home alone while I was at work.
Once I found out about ‘temporary boarding’ for the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind I thought this was the best of both worlds so I got in touch to find out more. The staff were very helpful and went through the requirements over a house visit (having an enclosed back-garden, reinforcing some of their training, etc.). It really sounded too good to be true but it was good and it was true!
I’ve had 17 dogs over the past 6 years. I get the easiest job as they stay with me when they start training after living with their amazing puppy raisers and the ever helpful staff are always on hand. Depending on the stage and progress of their training, each dog can stay for differing lengths of time. The dogs have stayed as short as 1 month (Lowry) and as long as 8 months (Manny). The first night is always fun as the dog assesses their new home (and you!!) but it can also be stressful for them at first coming to a strange home. A little bit of reassurance with lots of TLC while positively reinforcing the boundaries and rules by rewarding and praising good behaviour aswell as lots of belly rubs and you’re best pals in no time! They really do settle into routine fairly quickly and just want to be by your side, cuddle and play.
The “school run” is easy too as the times allow me to drop them in to Training centre on the way to work and pick them up on the way home. The Trainers and Kennel staff are all very friendly and accommodating also.
My Granda lost his sight at 76 so I experienced the challenges facing visually impaired people. It’s great being involved with a charity that helps with these challenges and also families with children with autism. I love seeing each dogs unique personality and their development through their training. Though always sad (and teary eyed if I’m honest) seeing them leave, I’m always so proud of them knowing they’re going onto change someone’s life with the amazing work they do be it as a Guide Dog or Assistance Dog. And then it starts all over again if you want to welcome a new friend into your life whom you will love just as much as your last lodger!“