Roy Keane meets Cork Guide Dog Owners

27 April 2015
By Bryan T. Smyth

To mark the launch of Guide Dog Day which takes place on 1st May, Cork
natives John Shanahan and his Guide Dog Vasco and Donnacha McCarthy
and his Guide Dog Holy met with Roy Keane at Irish Guide Dogs
headquarters. John is a local-based Midleton man and Donnacha is from
Drimoleague and currently living in Dublin. Guide Dog Day is Irish
Guide Dogs’ new national campaign which takes place on 1st May I
partnership with Hills Dog Food

John has had his Guide Dog Vasco since 2011 and has said that the
difference Irish Guide Dogs has made to his life has been
immeasurable. “I had a cane for a few years, but there’s only so much
you can do with a cane. And a cane can’t do what you tell it. With
Vasco, he brings me to the door, he brings me up the steps, he finds
the lift, he finds the toilets. And if we’re out for a coffee and I
say; “Vasco, coffee… find the way,” he takes me to a café. It’s
gobsmacking how intelligent he is.”

Donnacha has had his Guide Dog Holly since 2008 and has said Holly has
made a massive difference to his life. “Holly allows me to do what I
want with total independence, be that going to work every day, going
to the gym or something as simple as going for a walk. I can safely
say she has been the best aid I’ve had since losing my sight.” Irish
Guide Dogs’ ambassador Roy Keane met with Eleanor and Daniel Murphy
and other clients from around the country to launch the official

Currently Irish Guide Dogs supports 175 people in County Cork; 134 use
Irish Guide Dogs’ vision impairment services and 41 have an Assistance
Dog from the charity.

Speaking at the launch of Guide Dog Day, Irish Guide Dogs’ new
national campaign which takes place on 1st May supported by Hills Dog
Food, Roy said: “Growing up in Cork we always had dogs and then when I
went to England with the pressure of matches, I always found spending
time with my dogs a great way of relaxing. I have two dogs at the
moment, a German Shepherd and a Labrador and they are a massive part
of my family. I’d be lost without them they are a massive part of our

To mark the launch Roy Keane met with Irish Guide Dogs’ clients and
dogs and urges the public to support the day or text WOOF to 50300 to
donate €4. “I always enjoy talking to the people who have and need the
dogs; finding out how much the dog means to them; without the dogs
they wouldn’t get out and about. It’s amazing; absolutely amazing.”

Irish Guide Dogs is 80% funded by voluntary income and donations so it
relies on the public’s support to fund its services. “It costs €38,000
to train one of our pups to become a working Guide or Assistance Dog
and we are reliant on donations to deliver our services so please
support Guide Dog Day any way you can,” said Paula McGovern,
Communications Manager with the charity.

There are street collections and Tesco collections all around Ireland.
In County Cork there are collections taking place in Tesco Stores at
Ballincollig, Douglas, Mahon, Mallow, Midleton, Paul Street and
Youghal on 1st May and Mitchelstown on the 30th April. There are also
street collections taking place in:

25th April in Bandon and Wilton
30th April in Mitchelstown
1st, 9th and 21st May in Cork City Centre
1st May: Blarney, Carrigaline, Cobh, Douglas, Glanmire, Kinsale,
Macroom, Midleton, Youghal
2nd May in Fermoy and Mallow
15th and 16th May in Ballincollig
22nd May in Bantry

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