CHARITY OF THE YEAR
The IVNA 2020 Charity of the Year is My Canine Companion
Each year IVNA members elect a "Charity of the Year" giving much deserved recognition and support for their work. The chosen charity recieves benefits from various Veterinary Nurse organised sponsorships such as the Dublin & Cork mini marathons, raffles and collections at IVNA Annual Congress and VN student fundraisers. The charity also benefits from a great deal of promotion via IVNA Facebook posts and website presence. The charity of the year also takes prime position at our Annual Congress and recieves an invitation to speak about their work to delegates during Congress.
My Canine Companion is a national charity founded on the 16th June 2011 by Cliona O’Rourke.
Our main purpose is to provide highly trained and skilled service dogs to people with disabilities, particularly autism.
What We Do - My Canine Companion trains dogs to assist children and young adults living with Autism. We are committed to helping children with autism and their families gain independence, companionship and safety through the provision of highly trained and skilled Service Dogs.
As a small organisation, My Canine Companion provides an outstanding, customised and individualised service which meets needs of each individual client.
Our Service Dogs are fully trained to the highest standard over a 2 year training programme. My Canine Companion is an accredited member of Assistance Dogs International (ADI). Service Dogs costs the charity just over €10,000 to train. The period of training covers the two years from birth right through to graduation as a Service Dog.
Service Dogs make dramatic differences’ in the quality of life for children with Autism and their families. Not only do our dogs assist them physically, but these special dogs also become the child’s best and in some cases, only, friend.
Examples of how a Service Dog helps a child and his/her family living with Autism.
The dogs help increase safety levels and alleviates bolting behaviours
Acts as an anchor when tethered to the child
Provides independence as the child doesn’t have to hold the parents hand
Provides greater freedom to go out in public thanks to the calming effect of the dog
Helps with transitioning which leads to reduced stress levels and a more positive experience for all.
Acts as a constant companion, offering unconditional love and friendship to the child
We have over 85 dogs currently in various stages of training, most of which are pups living with recipient families. My Canine Companion has an ambitious puppy training program currently in place. This programme is the first of its kind in Ireland. As a registered charity we receive no Government funding and rely solely on community, individual and corporate funding to be able to continue to provide Service Dogs to children and families living with Autism.
The charity requires significant funding to achieve its goal of placing at least 45 Service Dogs a year with recipient families.