Posts tagged fundraising

Guide Dogs and fundraising

Ok, so I have talked here before about my dog Ralph and what a difference he made to my independence. I thought that I would just tell you a little about my volunteering with Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Last week I had a lunch meeting with the CEO of Irish Guide Dogs. For little over a year now I have not been actively fundraising for Guide Dogs due to some personal reasons that I am not going to go into here on this blog. People that know me well will know why and really, there is no need for me to go into it all anyway.

Only a few weeks ago the lady that founded our local branch here in Carlow sadly died. For the past 5 or maybe 6 years I was the chair person of the branch and had a number of committee members with me to take over other roles such as secretary and tresurer. We took over the branch from this lady as we wanted to build up our profile here and also, she had done so much good work for the organisation over the years that it was nice to allow her to sit back and to attend events that we had organised or to come along and help us out if she was able. I am prowd of the work that we have done over the years and we raised much needed funds for IGDB.

Its funny, when I stepped back from it about a year and a half ago I felt sad but did think that I wouldn’t miss it too much. I suppose there are always times when you are involved in something that you just wish that you could just get a break or that someone else would take over and share the work for a change. I have to admit that it wasn’t long before I missed it. When I do something that I really believe in like playing music, or singing, or something like that I can really put all I have into it and it was the same about the fundraising. I particularly loved to be able to talk about Guide Dogs in front of people and just share my experience as a Guide Dog owner. I always have said to people that I can talk and talk all day but really I am actually standing beside the product of the hard work that IGDB do day in and day out which is to train dogs like Ralph to give me and others our independence. In returning to the fundraising this time round though I have decided to set myself some boundaries. I am not going to be chair person of our branch. I am going to be a committee member yes but will hold no post of responsibility. In a fundraising sense Ralph is a very vital part of the branch but also, we have our own activities other than fundraising that we want to keep up with also. I think its good to strike a balance so hopefully we can get back into the swing of things and not be too busy at the same time.

For information on the work that IGDB do or to get information about being a volunteer in terms of fundraising you can visit the Guide Dogs site and you can like them on Face Book also and even following them on twitter.

If people read this post or any of my posts that may be connected with fundraising in the future and you are in the Carlow area and would like to become involved with us in any way at all do feel free to get in touch with me for more details. We always love to have some people to help us out at the many events that will hopefully be organised. If we get enough people to help we may only require as little as an hour of your time in a year. For me personally its just all about making a difference and being able to give something back in return for the brilliant opportunity to be able to work with Ralph. It is costing at present thirty eight thousand Euros to support a working Guide Dog throughout its life. That is a lot of money but as any person that works with a Guide Dog will tell you, its worth every cent.

My dog Ralph and some Guide Dog info

Well, some people will know of my Guide Dog Ralph from my tweets. if you follow me on twitter but maybe some of you might not have heard of him, so I would like to write a post about him and also just tell you about something that is happening very soon concerning fundraising.

Ralph is my eight year-old Lab Retreaver cross Guide Dog. I don’t have a photo of him to stick up here but at some point soon when I am more sure how to do it and when I actually have a picture of him I will put one up for all to see.

In late 2004 I put the wheels in motion to purchase my house which I am still living in today. I was still rather young at the time and some of my mates thought I was mad to be settling down with a mortgage at that age but I was satisfied that I was making the right decision and I have to say that going through with it was one of the best things that I have done. I needed independence. Where I was brought up was out in the countryside. I loved the area and still do, but I couldn’t get from a to b independently on my own even with Ralph with me so the only thing for it was to move closer to town and to where I would have access to shops and pubs and restaurants and cinemas and other amenities like that which I could use and not have to depend on people to take me where I needed to go all the time.

The house purchase was completed in February 2005 and myself and Ralph moved in. This was when we just took off on our own adventure. We had been commuting too and from Dublin for work on a daly basis and were living at my parents house. This was a two hours round trip for us which started with my mother taking us to Carlow train station by car. I was now lucky in that I had purchased my home close enough to the station that I could walk there and back with Ralph and we had everything close at hand. He was still rather young at the time but he was very relaxed and mature and enjoyed this new challenge and loved getting out and about learning new routes around the town. Having grown up here apart from the time I went away to attend school I was delighted to learn more routes by myself and be able to get too and from places that I wouldn’t have been able to do on my own before.

I can only use the word fantastic to describe what it feels like to me walking around with Ralph while he is working. He loves it and is so prowd and confident in what he does and he really shows it also. I just feel that I can see because I am guided around obstacles that I wouldn’t have known were there and because I am not walking along tapping a cane around to find things to bump into or make contact with before getting on with my journey again. I can go at the same speed as anyone else while walking and I am a quick walker. My direction also certainly is more acute with him also. I am not sure why this is. I think it is because we just walk around at a normal speed and also it might be something in how Ralph is trained to walk in a straight line and stop at the edge of a kerb when he can’t go any further and wait for more instructions from me.

At home he is also a great companion to me in the house and I never feel alone with him here. Our friendship is not like the human kind so people saying that he must be my best friend does annoy me at times. I have plenty of friends and some very good and supportive close ones. Just because a blind person has a Guide Dog doesn’t mean this dog is automatically their best friend in the world. I do love him yes and have some great chats with him but he can’t talk back. Now, if he could he would tell me to shut up I just know he would haha.

I am not going to go into the responsibilities of having Ralph and how he has to be looked after and stuff in this post. I wanted to just give you a sense of what he means to me and what its like for me to have the independence that he gives. My good friend Jen does a great job of topics Guide Dog related on her blog and I would recommend you all check it out. If you are a music lover like myself she might even interest you with her musical postings also. Her latest post at the time of me writing this one refers to Darragh and his post Thanks Freddie which he wrote about his retired dog Freddie. This post that Darragh wrote got great attention from people and when you read it you will understand why.

My main reason for writing this post came about over a week ago when I was asked to write a peace for Quinn’s blog to just talk about myself and Ralph. This peace is being used in a post about a head shave which is taking place in Kerry at the end of this month. Apparently one of Quinn’s owners is getting all his hair shaved off and all proceeds will go to Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind. Do check it out and if you can at all give a few quid towards this very worthy event. A big Thanks must go to all Quinn’s Kerry family for their hard work and dedication to Irish Guide Dogs. As a Guide Dog owner I think I can say on behalf of other Guide Dog owners a huge thank you to you all and keep up the great work.

Go to Top