26 November 2015
By Bryan T. Smyth
“Your small change can help us make a big change!”– Leonard Lloyd, Irish Guide Dogs
Cork based charity – Irish Guide Dogs for the blind – is calling on the public and businesses to donate 1c and 2c coins to support the training of Copper as she becomes an Assistance Dog.
An Assistance Dog is the same breed, age and temperament as a Guide Dog and is trained especially to work with a child with autism and their family. Assistance Dogs work with children with Asperger’s, children with autism and children who are on the autistic spectrum.
Copper is currently in the Early Training Unit at Irish Guide Dogs’ HQ and Training Centre in Cork. She will next progress to advanced training before being matched with the family of a child. During advanced training, Copper will learn how to respond to vocal commands and how to serve as an anchor if the child moves to put themselves in danger, for instance by trying to run off a pedestrian path near moving traffic.
“In light of the Central Bank’s rounding initiative, we are asking people to use their small change to bring a big change to a child’s life,” said Leonard Lloyd, Head of Fundraising, Irish Guide Dogs.
“Assistance Dogs are an incredible support for the families of children with autism – and, of course, the child themselves who often develops a very close bond with the dog. The level of mobility, independence and freedom that Copper will give a family of a child with autism is priceless, and in light of the Central Bank’s rounding initiative, we are asking the public and businesses to donate 1c and 2c to a great cause,” he said.
Copper will complete up to 250 training sessions by the time she qualifies as an Assistance Dog.
The public can support her training through:
· Signing up as an Irish Guide Dogs volunteer and supporting a social event to help donors drop off their coin jars
· Retail outlets and businesses can sign up as collection points – Irish Guide Dogs will place one of its large dog-shaped collection boxes on site
· Schools and universities can take part in a programme of schools events to support the collection of coins
· Share your ideas and stories about how you are supporting Copper on the Irish Guide Dogs Twitter and Facebook pages
More information about how to support Copper’s training is available at www.guidedogs.ie/copper