independent

Sunday 18 November 2018

Ronan and Spinks make TV debut

Ronan O'Shea with his new friend, Spinks.
Ronan O'Shea with his new friend, Spinks.

FIVE year old Ronan O'Shea and his mother Janet, will appear on TV3's Ireland AM on Friday, March 4.

Ronan received an extra special birthday present from Mallow based charity Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland (AADI). Ronan celebrated his big day with a very wet sloppy birthday kiss from his new autism assistance dog, Spinks.

Ronan's parents, Janet and Brian O'Shea from Carrigaline, have expressed their delight at the well timed present.

The dog's arrival will make a wonderful difference to our home life says Janet, who also suffers a disability which requires her to use a wheelchair.

Ronan has been really looking forward to this new furry addition to our family and Spinks will also mean Ronan has a constant special companion his mother added.

Spinks is the third autism assistance dog handed over to families by AADI since its establishment in April 2010. The Newfoundland cross retriever was donated to AADI by a man in Nenagh, Co Tipperary.

Breeda Clancy, director of fundraising said AADI trains assistance dogs to European standards. "We are always overjoyed to be able to hand over trained dogs to their new families, knowing the beneficial effects a trained assistance dog can bring to a challenging family situation," said Breeda.

AADI aim to train and place up to 20 dogs a year in family homes. The dogs can provide independence and safety for the children, allowing them to go out in public, act as an unconditional source of love and affection for the child and help them to improve interaction and socialisation skills.

The dogs and puppies have been donated by rescue centres and breeders around the country. The puppies undergo 12 months on a puppy fostering scheme and all training dogs have 4 to 6 months intensive training before being matched to a suitable family.

As a new charity, AADI are also looking for volunteer puppy foster carers, temporary boarders and also volunteers to organise or assist on a number of local and national fundraising drives, including bag packs, coffee mornings, flag days and there are sponsorship opportunities on www.autismassistancedogsireland.ie. You can also join AADI on Facebook.

For further information or to arrange an interview, please call Sara Mc Mahon, SmackPR, 086 2180969. AADI is based at Quartertown Mills, Mallow.

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