40 days and 800 kilometer Camino to raise vital funds

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My name is Deborah Walsh, I'm from Lucan in Co. Dublin and I've taken 40 days out from my daily life to walk the 800 km Camino French way to raise urgently needed funds for the children on Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland waiting list.

I chose to raise money for AADI because of my dear friends daughter, a special little girl who has autism and who is on AADIs waiting list. 

I understand the huge difference AADI Autism Assistance Dogs make to children with Autism and so by doing this 800 kilometer trek I want to raise as much money as possible to help the charity to reach more children who desperately need the support of one of their autism assistance dogs.  This trek will be a lifeline to families who are currently struggling to cope.

If you would like to join me in helping support these wonderful children, then click here

Follow me along my travels and help spread awareness of the work of this wonderful charity by visiting my facebook page and sharing the journey here

Together we can help change the world for children with autism and their families XXXX





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Exciting news for those who want a REAL CHALLENGE. . . . . . . 

Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland, in partnership with Ballyhass Lakes, Mallow, Co. Cork are hosting the incredible ‘Adventure Challenge for Autism’ on 29th September, with hundreds of challenge hungry competitors expected to take part.  

Step out of your comfort zone and take on an adventure like no other, tackling 5 challenges over 3 hours.  Participants can expect to get masked with mud and soaked to the skin as they navigate through the ability testing assault course, fly the 150 meter zip-line across quarry lakes, take on the Gladiator Challenge, abseil and much much more.  Suitable for thrill seekers big and small, participants can enter as a team, a family or individually. 

Competition will be neck and neck as competitors are scored on each challenge that they successfully complete.  For those guys and gals who don’t like to lose, there will be prizes galore in all categories.

CEO of AADI,  Nuala Geraghty says, “This is definitely a thrilling event for people who really love to push themselves.  They don’t come much bigger or better than this.  We partnered with Ballyhass Lakes as they have an incredible reputation for top class events.  We know that the ‘Adventure Challenge for Autism’ will bring teams and families together to test themselves to achieve success, have the time of their lives and ultimately help to get more assistance dogs to children with autism who are currently struggling to cope with the crippling elements of this invisible disability.  I would urge everyone to sign up.  You will definitely get mud in your face but you will also help families struggling to cope with autism live a new life through the support of one of our highly skilled assistance dogs.”

So set yourself a real challenge with the ‘Adventure Challenge for Autism’ and sign up here today.  This is one serious adventure!!!!!!


Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland achieve the FIRST and ONLY accreditation for an Autism Assistance Dog Programme in Ireland with Assistance Dogs International

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Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland (AADI) are this month celebrating their accreditation with Assistance Dogs International for their exceptional standards and training of their Autism Assistance Dogs for children with autism across Ireland.  This award will place AADI as the first and only Autism Assistance Dog Programme in Ireland to be accredited to these international standards and comes at a time when statistics highlight that 1 in every 65 children in Ireland have a diagnosis of this invisible disability. 

Not all organisations that undergo this rigorous assessment process are granted accreditation.  Status as an accredited charity means that AADI has met the internationally recognised standards for excellence in provision of task specific dog training, welfare and education and is an achievement that the team at the charity want all of their donors, corporate partners and volunteers to be proud of too.

Speaking of the success, CEO, Nuala Geraghty explains, “We believe that the children with autism and families that we work to support and provide our services to deserve the very best.  We train our assistance dogs over a two year period to mitigate the difficulties that the child is experiencing because of autism, such as chronic anxiety, lack of danger awareness and inability to go to public places because of sensory overload.  Our autism assistance dogs give back life to the child and their family, helping children with autism to reach their potential and return to being part of their communities, where they belong.  

Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland invests two years and over 9,100 hours of training in each dog to get our dogs to the stage where they will be the lifeline for a child and family affected by autism.  

Our success as the first and only Autism Assistance Dog Programme in Ireland to be accredited with ADI helps to affirm the fact that the services that we provide are of exceptional standard and have an impact on children across Ireland that is lasting a lifetime.  Without doubt, going through the accreditation process was an intense time, but it propelled us to take stock and acknowledge how determined we are to get more autism assistance dogs to children with autism who urgently need them. 

It is a constant reminder that our responsibility is to continuously improve the worlds of children with autism and their families through the training that we invest in our dogs.  To say that we are proud of the service that we provide and the accolade that we have received from Assistance Dogs International is probably an understatement.  We are literally over the moon with this achievement.  The news comes as we mark International Assistance Dog Week, 5 – 11 August 2018 and the incredible changes that our dogs bring to the lives of children with autism and their families.” 

The standards to which Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland train their dogs can be clearly seen in the success stories that they have with families such as the O’ Briens from County Wicklow.  AADI placed Zara with Mia this year.  Lisa O’Brien, Mia’s mum, states “We can see the support that Zara brings Mia already, how Zara looks out for and minds Mia.  Zara gives independence to us as a family.    Before we received Zara from Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland, you would get all sorts of looks and whispering, where people would gather their thoughts and come up with their own diagnosis of Mia.  Mia’s brothers and sister would sense this straight away and lip read every conversation around them.  It was very upsetting for them.  Now that people can see Mia attached with Zara, there is instant acceptance of my daughter. 

Mia has no awareness of the risk that strangers pose and in the past she would hug strangers.  As parents this was very worrying.  Mia is very trusting, but this means that she is vulnerable.  Now, with Zara, Mia is more focused and by being attached with her assistance dog, she is safe and doesn’t go up to strangers.  Zara gives us a new hope”. 

It takes 2 years and costs €22,000 to train AADI Dogs to Assistance Dogs International Standards.  The charity receives no government funding and is reliant on the support of individuals and companies across Ireland.  Most importantly, all of the charity's assistance dogs are provided to families completely free of charge and are only placed with the family when the dog is fully qualified to make a life lasting impact.    

If you would like to change the world of a child with autism on our waiting list, you can be their lifeline by sponsoring one of our autism assistance puppies in training for as little as €3 a week.  Click here to change a child's world

Petworld and Horkans make a lasting impact!!!!

Thank you sincerely to all of the staff and customers of Petworld and Horkans Garden Centres who have made such a massive effort in raising critical funds to make life better for children with autism.

You are now the proud sponsors of Poppy the autism assistance puppy. Poppy, through your sponsorship, is going to transform the life of a child with autism and their family beyond recognition.

This is all because of you in Petworld and Horkans. On behalf of the children with autism and their families who we support, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for caring so much.  Thank you for being a lifeline

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Furry 5K Charity Walk 2017

Furry 5K Charity Walk 2017

Petworld are delighted to announce that their annual Furry 5K Walk is taking place at 10am on Sunday 23rd July in seven locations across Ireland. The Furry 5K is a 5km sponsored walk with all proceeds going to Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland (AADI). This amazing charity provides highly trained assistance dogs for children with autism and their families.