Naas charity walk for autism dogs

NAAS will be the venue for an upcoming fun run/walk over 7 kms in aid of Cork-based national charity Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland.

NAAS will be the venue for an upcoming fun run/walk over 7 kms in aid of Cork-based national charity Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland.

The walk is being organised by a Naas woman whose family’s life changed when their young son was given an assistance dog.

A shorter route will also be available, and both events take place on September 16.

Last year’s inaugural event raised €9,300 for the charity.

The route begins and ends at Swan Dowling’s pub, Newbridge Road, taking in Caragh Road and the route towards Sallins.

All of those taking part will get a day pass for Killashee Leisure Centre and a t-shirt. There will be a raffle with a year‘s free membership to Killashee. People are welcome to take part simply by giving a donation on the day.

Registration will take place the night before upstairs at Swan’s between 6pm and 8pm and at the same location on September 16 between 1.30pm and 2.30 pm.

Naas woman Gráinne McGrath, a native of Kilcullen Road who lives with husband Joseph and family near Kilcullen, received an assistance dog, Nana, for their 6 year old son Thomas.

Ms. McGrath is organising the event to help raise funds to help other families affected by autism across the country.

Autistic children can find it difficult to interact with other youngsters. Families find it hard to go out as a unit because the child has no awareness of dangers and problems arise because they tend to get unnerved in populated places.

Dogs provide a non-threatening companion to interact between the family and the child.

The dog is attached to the youngster by means of a special harness.

“For going out and about I hold Nana on a lead. Thomas is attached by a belt and Nana listens to my command,” Grainne told the Leinster Leader.

“Before I had the dog Thomas would run anywhere because he sees no danger and now I’m more inclined to go out more because we have the dog.

“It really is a Godsend because it allows us to do things as a family much easier than was the case.

“I used to try to get people to mind him because of the awkwardness of the situation but now Thomas introduces himself and Nana and they play together.

“ But for Nana, he would watch TV all day long and it is also a help for him to feels that he has the responsibility of minding the dog,” Grainne added.