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Green Rebel and My Canine Companion work together to improve autism services and awareness

Maxine McCreadie 

 27 January 2021


Green Rebel Marine has joined forces with My Canine Companion to supportfamilies around Ireland living with autism.

My Canine Companion is an Irish charity that provides accredited servicedogs to people with disabilities, predominantly autism. In addition, theyprovide a range of therapy dog services and autism awareness programmes. Theyare the largest provider of this service in Ireland with the highest successtraining rate.

Mark O’Reilly from Green Rebel Marine said: “We are delighted to be ableto support the fantastic work of My Canine Companion. Service Dogs makedramatic differences in the quality of life for children with Autism and theirfamilies. We are looking forward to working together this year and helpingfamilies all around Ireland.”

CEO of My Canine Companion Niall Ruddy said: “Our aim is to enhance thequality of life for people with difficulties predominately autism through theprovision of highly qualified service dogs. We also have plans to roll outadditional group and individual therapy services to complement our currenttherapy services in schools, nursing homes etc.

“We will further develop our awareness programmes including our workwith Irish towns and communities to help them become not only autism-friendlybut autism responsive. Our partnership with Green Rebel Marine is so importantto us in these areas as we seek to together improve both autism services andawareness”.

My Canine Companion was set up in Blarney Cork in 2011 byhusband-and-wife team Cliona O’Rourke and Niall Ruddy.  The organisationis now headquartered in Blackpool, Cork and provides a nationwide serviceincluding the provision of over 60% of Ireland’s autism service/assistancedogs.

Cliona was the first person in Europe to train a dog specifically for achild with autism in 2004. Cliona travelled to Canada to observe the Canadianautism service dog programme before developing the first European programme inIreland in 2004/2005. Cliona has since helped several European schools developtheir programmes.

Annually My Canine Companions provides over 60% of Ireland’s service/assistancedogs to children with autism. The balance is provided by Irish Guide Dogs forthe Blind 33% and Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland 7%. MCC qualifies an averageof 45 autism service dog partnerships per year and currently have 275 workingdog partnerships in Ireland. (November 2020).

My Canine Companiondoes not charge families for the provision of our service dog programmes.However, the cost to the charity of providing their fully qualified servicedogs over a two-year programme and continuing lifetime support is €10,000.

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