Maxi Zoo customers in Kildare have helped to raise a whopping €25,650 which is set to transform the lives of children with Autism by providing them with highly trained assistance dogs.
The amount was raised as part of the annual Maxi Zoo Give Paw fundraising campaign and all proceeds from the event have been presented to Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland (AADI).
The month long fundraising campaign was generously supported by local pet owners when it took place at the Maxi Zoo pet stores in Newbridge, Naas and Maynooth last October, offering locals the opportunity to support the national charity by buying a €2 friendship bracelet.
Assistance dogs are not pets but service dogs who are trained for up to two years to carry out specific tasks to support children with Autism to overcome the distressing elements of their disability and to live the life they deserve.
Assistance dogs provide safety and companionship, reduce anxiety and suffering, promote independence and improve coping mechanisms for children with Autism who would otherwise live in a very isolated world.
“One in every 65 children in Ireland has Autism. We have over 200 children on our waiting list which we had to close due to lack of funding. In the past 24 months we have had over 1,600 families contact our charity asking us for our support,” said Nuala Geraghty, CEO, Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland.
“These are families that you no longer see in our communities because their child’s Autism is so debilitating that they cannot leave their homes. The generous contributions to Maxi Zoo’s Give Paw campaign will really help us to reach more children and their families and to change their lives and their future,” she added.
“We are extremely grateful to everyone in Maxi Zoo and to their customers for their incredible generosity. Their support will help to provide children with Autism with the assistance dogs they so desperately need, helping us to bring these children and their families back to their communities, where they belong,” she continued.
Maxi Zoo Managing Director, Ciaran O’Neill, also thanked those who supported the fundraising campaign when he presented a cheque for €25,650 to the charity.
“The Maxi Zoo Give Paw campaign has been running for a number of years and we always try to better the amount that we raise each year so we can provide more funds to charities in need. The €25,650 that we raised in one month this year was double the €11,818 that we raised the previous year,” he said.
“This is a phenomenal achievement for all our customers, store staff and volunteers from Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland. We are delighted to support the charity and know that the amount raised will go a long way to helping them to provide assistance dogs to children with Autism,” he added.