Castleisland Co-Op Mart Boosts Rionn’s Service Dog’s Training Fundraiser

Castleisland Co-Op Mart Chairman and calf donor, Timmy Horan (right) presenting a cheque for €2,615 to Cáit Murphy-Koziel who accepted on behalf of My Canine Companion Autism and Therapy Services. The services have provided an autism service dog ‘Keeva’ for Cáit’s nephew, Rionn Curran pictured here in his dad, Sean’s arms with Mr. Horan and Rionn’s mom Mairéad Murphy at the presentation at Castleisland Co-Op Mart. ©Photograph: John Reidy

In early May, Mairead, mom to Rionn, a wonderful six and a half year old autistic boy was chatting with her sister, Cait, regarding ideas for fundraising for Rionn’s service dog’s training.

Cait mentioned that she was planning on auctioning her last two calves of the season from the farm in Knocknagree at Castleisland Co-Op Livestock Mart.

The sisters were expecting maybe €400 or €500 at most from the auction but Joan Twomey and the management and staff at the mart put their shoulders to the wheel and pushed the figure well out to €2,615.

Mart Donated Two Calves

As part of their input to the fundraising drive, the mart donated two more calves to the auction. One of the calves came from the committee and chairman Timmy Horan donated the other. The committee then collected money from their very generous customers over a three week period.

Cait and Rionn’s parents, Sean and Mairead were delighted to accept a cheque for €2,615.00 on behalf of My Canine Companion Autism & Service Therapy Dogs from Castleisland Co-Op Livestock Mart Chairman Timmy Horan at the mart on bank holiday Monday.

My Canine Companion

My Canine Companion Service and Therapy Dogs are trained specifically to give autistic children freedom, independence, companionship and love. They help open up a whole new world to these children and their families.

Almost all autistic children have sensory processing challenges where different environments can overwhelm them hugely. Too noisy, too busy, too bright, too hot or cold. Autism service dogs help calm a child in these circumstances.

Very Sensory Driven

“Rionn is very sensory driven, tactile and so so loving and affectionate that even rubbing his service dog’s coat or giving her great big hugs brings him great comfort and the sensory feedback he gets is so relaxing for him,” said his aunt Cáit.

“Rionn loves when his dog Keeva runs around him in circles, he claps his hands and dances with delight, she brings him such joy.

“He doesn’t yet really understand dangers such as traffic or heights or deep water.

Reassuring and Calming

“His future attachment to his autism service dog will keep him safe in these situations.

“Rionn finds doctor, dentist, eye and sometimes even therapy appointments hugely frightening and traumatic.

“He cannot cope at all in these situations and gets unbelievably upset. Once Keeva is fully qualified this summer she will reduce the stress of these visits and be a reassuring and calming influence for Rionn,” said Cáit.

New Freedoms for Rionn

Rionn’s parents and his twin sister Aoibheann will be in a position to take him out more with them on trips other families take for granted like, shopping, going out for a meal, taking him to the cinema, visits to friends and cousins’ houses, maybe even a family holiday will be possible once Keeva is fully trained.

Dogs Cost €10,000 to Train

“These highly skilled dogs cost €10,000 to train from the puppy programme stage to fully qualified service dog attachment stage with the child.

“Fundraising is such a vital part of it all. Rionn and his family are so grateful to the kind hearted, generous and wonderful Joan and to all at Castleisland Co-Op Livestock Mart who have given their time and effort in making this fundraiser such a huge success,” said Cáit in conclusion.

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