A CHARITY which provides Seeing Dogs for visually impaired people was supported by an equine event at the weekend.
The Eventing Ireland competition took at the Glenpatrick complex outside Templepatrick, owned by the Megahey family.
Pam Megahey is the handler of German Shepherd Evie, who was trained and supplied by the Seeing Dogs Alliance.
Originally founded in 1979 to provide mobility training and guide dogs, The Seeing Dogs Alliance was relaunched in 2002 with the sole aim of providing an alternative source of dogs to guide blind people.
Larger charities like Guide Dogs have their own breeding programme and the process is fully funded, but as a small operation, Seeing Dogs Alliance sources puppies from other organisations, including Dogs for Good.
Assistance dog trainers often acquaint themselves with the best pedigree lines for the job and there is a lot of co-operation and recommendations between various agencies.
It costs around £20,000 to purchase a puppy and care for it through the first two years of its life with puppy rearing, training, food and veterinary care.
Once handed over, the client bears the financial responsibility.
The charity relies on the generosity of the public, fund raising and legacies to survive and gladly welcomes donations and help with fund raising.
Seeing Dogs Alliance is run entirely by volunteers with the sole exception of the two freelance mobility instructors.
Trustee Pam and Evie as well as another Antrim resident and beneficiary of the charity, Korinne Simpson and her Seeing Dog Georgie, were present at the event on Saturday.
There was a dedicated fence and banner to raise awareness of the charity, while volunteers were circulating around the event with collection boxes.
To find out more or to make a donation, log on to The Seeing Dog Alliance website: www.seeingdogs.org.uk
There is also a Facebook page at www.facebook.com/
seeingdogs/ and a Just Giving page at: https://www.justgiving.com
Collection boxes can be found at FenaghyVets Antrim and Ballymena Simpson’s newsagents, Massereene Golf Club, Simply Gifted, The Juice Bar at Antrim Forum Third Day Coffee, Anita’s Hair & Beauty, McCormack’s Butchers, McKay Pharmacy Templepatrick, The Eye Care Clinic Templepatrick and Roasty Toasty Belfast.