We have just found out that Tullagh, our very first Guide Dog pup, has passed away. We are so very sad as he was not yet 8 years old. We first recieved Tullagh in September of 2008 in our first house in Dublin about 6 months after moving to Ireland.
At 15 months Tullagh entered his advanced training and was matched about 9 months later with a wonderful family near Galway who had a young lad with autism. Tullagh became known as the 'gentle giant' and was instantly a loved family member.
This picture was taken in 2008 when with one of our grandkids, Isaiah, in the back garden - Tullagh was not yet full grown but we could tell he was going to be a great dog.
We are sharing in the feelings of loss with Tullagh's adopted family, though we haven't seem him in years. He was diagnoised with spinal cancer just a week or so earlier and had to be put to sleep to revlieve his suffering. He was faithful to the end, never whining or complaining. We are gutted.. .
L to R: Rick, Jen, Sue & Ali
One of our favorite people, Sue, celebrated her 50th birthday in Finglas (N Dublin) on Saturday night. Nearly the whole city, including it's mayor turned up to wish Sue well. Jamestown Road Baptist Church hosted the celebration and the building was packed - what a tribute to Sue who has done so much in that community and around the city. HAPPY 50TH SUE!!
In the photo above are three other great friends, surrounding Sue. Rick, Jen & Ali live in S Dublin, near where we were for our first four years in Ireland.
Rocco (Rock-O), our 6th pup we have raised for The Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind, will be leaving us on Tuesday, 19 January. He will be going to the training headquarters in Cork City to begin his new life of service. As always, we are sad to see him go as he is such a great young dog now. This is ALWAYS the hardest part of raising a pup . . . letting them go.
We know he will become a valuable part of a new family in another year or so, once he is fully trained. There are 2 programs he could enter. One is as a guide dog for a blind person, or Two, as an assistance dog for a family with a young autistic child. We hope Rocco does well in his training and go on to a wonderful life, but we miss him already.
No, Frank is not the name of the young man in the photo below - this is our new friend and teammate Joshua Hochstetler. Frank is the name of the storm that brought heavy winds and tons of rain to most of Ireland last night and this morning. The sea behind Josh is not usually near this rough. Frank's gusts near 90 kph whipped the surf into 4-7 foot waves where usually they are 1-2 feet in this area.
Josh has been with us over the holidays but returns to Dublin on Saturday where he is working for the next 11 months or so at Ballycullen Community Church. He is doing a great job learning a new culture by observing and asking good questions!