15 03, 2016

Jay’s DogBlog Stage 3

18 months + (Shelton Abbey Prison Programme)
I’ve been on the move again and now I have a new home and a new human looking after me! I’m not sure what the new place I’m living in is called just yet but there are lots and lots of other people living here too and all of them are the more hairy humans (I haven’t seen any smooth humans yet in this new place). We all live together in a huge house, sort of like a castle. My human sleeps in the same room as some other humans and I have a bed in there too so I’m not feeling too lonely in this new place. The best bit about living here is that my brothers and sisters are living here too! They all have their own hairy human taking care of them now.

I really like it here because my human doesn’t go anywhere without me at all, so I never have to worry that I’ll be on my own and I get lots and lots of attention! I heard someone call him Bob so maybe that’s his name, or maybe all the hairy humans are called Bob? I’m not sure yet.

There is lots of grass to run around on outside my new home. I go out for a big walk a few times a day with my human and then every night when we are back inside he brushes my whole body with a big brush which always makes me feel really sleepy.

I have some great new toys to play with here and I don’t even need to share them with anyone (except my human who throws them for me and I try to catch them as fast as I can). One of the toys is really bouncy and I never know which direction it’s going to go in next! I’m always really tired after trying to catch it for a long time but I usually manage to get it eventually. Another new toy I have is really good fun to push over with my nose and then treats come out, like magic!

Some days in my new home are special days, and some special men come and take me and my brothers and sisters and all our humans outside. We are learning lots of new things now and my human says I will need to know all these things for the special job I have to do when I’m a big grown-up dog. I learned that sometimes the human wants me to sit down and I get a treat for sitting until he tells me its time not to be sitting any more. Sometimes he wants me to follow him and sometimes he doesn’t and he says ‘WAIT’. I realised I get really good treats when I do well and my human is really pleased with me too.

Sometimes other humans come to visit my human! One of them is a smooth human and there are two half size humans that call him ‘Daddy’ (so maybe his name isn’t Bob after all). The half humans are always really excited to see me and give me lots of cuddles and they love it when my human shows them all the new things I learned.

Anyway, I have to go now as it’s time to go back outside and practice all the new things I’ve learned

Till next week…




8 03, 2016

Jay’s DogBlog Stage 2

8 weeks – 18 months

I’ve got a new place to live now and a whole new family! I heard these humans say that they’re puppy socialisers. I’m a bit wary of what that means but so far it’s all good and I get lots of cuddles and snuggles from everyone. One of these humans is soooo much hairier than the others, and even has hair on part of his face! He doesn’t seem to have hair on the top of his head though like most humans do which is a bit odd. It’s too early to say if that’s a good thing. I heard one of the humans call him ‘Daddy’.

Some of the humans in my new family are little humans and aren’t even half as big as the big ones! The little humans are much more fun to play with and they don’t mind so much when I make a mess, probably because they make lots of mess too.

I’m getting to go out and about on lots of adventures with my humans and I have a very special yellow jacket to wear so that everyone knows I’m in training for a very important job. Everywhere I go, people notice my special jacket and want to talk to me and pat me. I think I must be famous for something, I’m just not sure what yet.

My humans are introducing me to all sorts of strange looking people. I can’t see some of their faces properly because they’ve so much hair and some of them are wearing things on their heads so I can’t see their faces at all! My humans let me go over to the strange people and have a sniff of them if I want. I thought the really hairy ones might smell like dogs but they don’t really. For some reason the humans give me lots of treats after I meet the strange people!

Sometimes I don’t like the look of the new people when I can’t see their faces properly. My humans let me move away if I want to and then I can always go back for another sniff later on and they usually smell a bit better second time around.

We’ve been outside a lot and going for walks in some really noisy places where there’s lots of traffic and people balancing on funny things with two wheels and no roof! I’m not sure what happens to them when it rains.

I’ve been to lots of places where there are half size humans running around really fast and playing with balls. I want to play with the ball too but it probably wouldn’t be fair as I’ve got four legs and the half size humans only have two.

Until next week!


4 03, 2016

Our Story Told Through Lego!

Stage 1 – Birth-8 weeks


Let us introduce the Lego version of our assistance pup Jay!  To help us tell the story of our assistance dog training programme we are also introducing the Lego version of a family on our waiting list for one of our amazing dogs.  Sophie O’Connor has seen some photos of Jay already and she’s desperately hoping they’ll be a match…only time will tell.


In this stage of the training programme our puppies are getting used to different sensory experiences to prepare them for the rest of their training journey.  Sensory CDs are played while they are feeding (to get them accustomed to noises such as sirens, music playing etc.).  Puppies are also introduced to different floor surfaces beneath their feet, as you’ll see our Lego version of our puppy Jay has also been doing this week!




1 03, 2016

Jay’s Dogblog

Stage 1 (birth- 8 weeks old) –

I worked out how to open my eyes and I couldn’t believe what I saw! Can you believe I have 3 brothers and 3 sisters? We all live with my mummy and a family of humans. The humans are quite big and hairy but their hair doesn’t seem to be all over their bodies which is a bit odd. Anyway the humans told us we’re all very special puppies as we’re training to be assistance dogs for Dogs for the Disabled. I don’t know what that means but hey it’s nice to know I’m special.  I heard the humans say that when I’m a big grown up dog I’ll have a very important job to do for a very special person!

The humans that we live with must love me lots cause they pick me up lots every day and they always seem to be checking all the bits of my body. I don’t think any bits have fallen off that I’ve noticed. While my brothers and sisters and I are drinking our milk from our mummy they play us some very strange noises from a machine in their living room. I heard one of the humans call it ‘sensory’. I don’t know what that means but it’s got lots of really loud noises in it and it really frightened us the first few times! We were so scared we couldn’t concentrate on drinking our milk but we’ve got used to it now and it doesn’t bother us so much.

Hey now it’s all changed and we don’t get our milk from mummy all the time any more! The humans keep trying to make us stand and walk on things that are slippy and make funny noises. I don’t like the things that make the funny noises but I quite like the slippy things! We’ve got toys to play with now as well. I love these humans so much, I want to stay here forever and ever.

Every week the humans measure us and see how heavy we are and they write it all down in a big book! I’ve heard them say my brother Jack is the heaviest but I’m sure that means I’ll be able to run faster than him!

Ok so now the humans have gone a bit weird again and keep shouting ‘quickly, quickly’ at us. I have a feeling it’s something to do with pee pees?

Ow ow ow! Today our humans took us to see a man called a vet and he stuck something sharp in me and it really hurt!! All my brothers and sisters got jabbed too so we’re all feeling a bit sad today. Our humans said it was so we don’t get sick when we’re big dogs.

Our humans said today is a really important day cause we have to go to Dogs for the Disabled headquarters and get assessed. Ooh we don’t know what that means but we’re hoping we don’t get jabbed again.

Anyway I’m a bit tired out from all my adventures this week and my paws are getting a bit sore from all this typing, but I’ll be back next week to tell you all what I’ve been up to!

Lotsa love ‘n’ slobbers…..


21 01, 2016

Worth the Wait: Luke and Aidan

While the waiting list for an assistance dog from Irish Dogs for the Disabled is daunting to many potential applicants, Luke’s mum Pauline brilliantly described on our Facebook page back in August why it is worth the wait and how assistance dog Aidan has changed her son’s life:

We are heading into the end of our third year with Aidan now and he is a very important member of our family. His partnership with Luke is hard to describe, it’s almost like they think each others thoughts. It’s an intuitive partnership and we know without a doubt that Luke would be a part time wheelchair user in school without Aidan by his side. Luke has grown into a tall capable young man of sixteen with the freedom of his peers and a shot at life he wouldn’t have got without the help from dogs for the disabled.

My advice for anyone out there waiting for an assistance dog is this: half a loaf is not better than none. Be patient and wait, get your dog from the right source. There is no way our partnership would have worked without the support of Irish Dogs for the Disabled.

To have a successful, safe school journey you need a fully trained, bred for purpose dog that matches your child’s needs. You also need 24/7 support from an expert, someone who understands your dog and your child’s disability.

Getting your dog from a qualified, experienced registered organisation, that way you will be covered legally to bring your dog into public places, you will have back-up if things get tricky. Your dog will be expertly matched to meet your needs, he will be from a long line of working dogs, and you and your child will receive expert training from qualified experts who have years of experience doing what they do.

Assistance dogs must at all times behave flawlessly in public places. One badly behaved animal will result in all assistance dogs being tarred with the same brush and that’s why we all work so hard to constantly polish our dog’s skills so they behave like princes and princesses. The public’s ability to accept dogs in public places like restaurants and schools depends directly on the behaviour of the dogs that are presently accessing these public places.

Wait for the real deal, judging by our experiences with Aidan, I promise you, it will be worth the wait


21 01, 2016

Tesco Community Fund Ballincollig

Tesco Ballincollig have chosen Irish Dogs for the Disabled for the Tesco Community Fund for the next 8 weeks. Please come and support the charity by shopping in Tesco Ballincollig between 20 January and 20 March. Put your blue Community Fund token in the Irish Dogs for the Disabled tube at the exit to help fund more assistance dogs for Ireland!

7 01, 2016

Cian and Fudge in the Evening Echo

The Evening Echo has a wonderful profile of Cian and his Assistance Dog, Fudge: Boy’s best friend, Cian and Fudge are great double act thanks to Cork charity.

Cian Hennessey is 7 and has spina bifida, hydrocephalus and scoliosis, and is a wheelchair user. Four years ago, his family applied to Irish Dogs for the Disabled and last year, the specially trained Fudge joined the Hennesseys as Cian’s assistance dog after the pair trained together. She opens doors for Cian, helps him undress, performs tasks for him and provides company as the two are now inseparable.

7 01, 2016

Puppy Socialisers Needed!

2016 is going to be a busy year for Dogs for the Disabled as we are planning on breeding additional puppies to meet the growing demand for our assistance dogs. In order to produce these puppies, we first need additional Puppy Socialisers.

These are families in Ireland that will look after the pup in their own home for the first 12-18mths of the pup’s life. All food, veterinary care, and equipment is provided along with full support. Socialisers must have a fully enclosed garden, not work more than 4 hours away from home daily and have a love for dogs.

There is a child or adult living with physical disability in Ireland that needs your help! Please get in touch if you or someone you know can help. Please apply online or contact us if you would like more information.