ROY Keane maybe having a ‘woof’ time of late, but meeting a Graiguecullen man and his adorable dog Quaker gave him plenty of ‘paws’ for thought!
Graiguecullen guide dog owner Tomas Scully and his guide dog Quaker met the former Manchester United great at Irish Guide Dogs headquarters recently to mark the launch of the Guide Dog Day campaign, which takes place on Friday 1 May. Tomas has had Quaker since September 2009, describing the difference Irish Guide Dogs has made to his life as “immeasurable”.
“I would be lost without Quaker. He is great company and he keeps me safe. Quaker has stopped me a few times from stepping out onto the road in front of moving traffic,” explained Tomas.
Currently, Irish Guide Dogs supports 11 people in County Carlow, seven use Irish Guide Dogs’ vision impairment services and four have an assistance dog from the charity.
Tomas has been profoundly vision impaired since birth, but never dwelled on his sight loss. At school in Killeshin, Tom moved around by following his friends closely behind, then used low-vision aids to assist his studies and he went on to do a course in information technology in IT Carlow.
But when Tomas started tripping over kerbs and steps and noticed he was finding it harder to see in sunlight, he knew he needed to get a guide dog. Since getting Quaker, Tom has moved out of the family home to Graiguecullen, where he is living independently and enjoying the freedom, safety and independence that Quaker gives him.
“Having a guide dog means you can get around more quickly and easily,” said Tomas.
It costs €38,000 to train one pup to become a working guide or assistance dog. Irish Guide Dogs is 80% funded by voluntary income and donations and Guide Dog Day is its most important national fundraising campaign day.”
The public can support on the day by texting woof to 50300 to donate €4. Street collections will also be held in Carlow town on 1 May.