Thursday, 14 January 2016

A New Home for the Education Blog

Over the past few weeks the Education Blog has been preparing itself for a big move, and so we'll be saying Goodbye to Blogger, and Hello to our new spot on our very own Education website,
Worry not though, we'll still be blogging regularly from our new home where you can keep up to date with the goings on of the ECO's and their canine co-workers!
Click on THIS LINK to head over to the new blog, and don't forget to have a look around the website for lots of information about Dogs Trust's Education Programme and to find out if there's an ECO in your area.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Merry Christmas!

Well it's almost Christmas, woohoo! And with that in mind we wanted to share with you some tips to keeping your furry friends safe and happy over the festive season.

So relaxed...
Christmas is a busy time in lots of households, and with people coming and going regularly, our canine chums can often get quite stressed. To help them stay relaxed and happy, make sure that they have a nice, quiet, and cosy spot somewhere that they can escape to if they want. Leave a bowl of water, their favourite toy, and a nice warm blanket/bed to snuggle into. Don't force your dog to meet guests, and if they choose to go to their safe spot, make sure that they're not disturbed.

Can you see where she's hidden the food?
Christmas is a particularly dangerous time of year when it comes to food and pets! Raisins in mince pies, Christmas cake and Christmas pudding are poisonous to your dog, as are chocolate, garlic, onions,  macadamia nuts, grapes, and avocados. Make sure all human food is kept out of reach of your dog (especially if they like to partake in a little counter surfing!) and if you think that your pet has eaten something that they shouldn't have, keep a very close eye on them for signs of illness. If they are vomiting, lethargic, not eating/drinking, or show any other signs that they're not well, then call the vet immediately.
What do you mean baubles aren't
for playing with?!
Whilst they may make our houses look festively fantastic, decorations can be an issue when it comes to dogs, and other pets. As well as the risk of your dog mistaking a bauble for a toy to be chewed on, wires from lights on the tree could also be a safety issue, with your dog getting tangled in them by accident. To be safe, make sure all wires are  tidied up and out of the way, and that your dog is never left alone with your amazingly decorated tree, or that baubles are our of reach! Don't forget that poinsettia plants, holly and mistletoe are poisonous to dog so if you've decorated your house with any of these, then again make sure that they're out of the reach of sneaky paws!

So there's some helpful tips to keep your pooches happy and healthy this festive season!

Merry Christmas everyone! The blog will be taking a break for the next two weeks, but we'll be back again in the New Year!:)

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Santa Paws is back in town!

It's that time of year again when we all start to look forward to a visit from a very jolly gentleman wearing a bright red suit, and to celebrate, the Education Team are holding the festive 'Santa Paws' event again this year! 

We'll have a very special Christmas Workshop for little Elves aged 5 to 12, where they'll get into the Christmas spirit with lots of fun activities, including putting together stockings for our furry residents to make sure that they have some goodies over the festive season. Our helpful elves will also get a tour of the centre to see some of the dogs who will be on the receiving end of their creative stocking filling!

Our Little Elves will also get to meet Santa and have their photo taken with the man himself, who, in the spirit of Christmas, will also give presents to each of the Children!
Education dogs Sadhbh and Beibhinn will be there to show each of our guest how to safely meet a dog, and, as usual, there will be plenty of treats to munch on throughout the morning!


Fancy dress is optional, and all this will take place between 10.30am and 12pm in our Rehoming Centre in Finglas. €10 per elf is required to book a place, which can be done via this link!
If you can't make it to the workshop, you can still meet Santa and his elves, have your photo taken and receive a small gift! Come along between 12.30 and 3pm to the Rehoming centre for your meet with Santa. The cost for this is €5 per child - booking is advisable, but not essential, and can be done through here.
The Education Team can't wait to meet you all there! 

Friday, 20 November 2015

Safety in School

Deirdre, our South East Education Officer, recently visited Ballyduff NS in Co. Waterford.  Afterwards some of the students emailed with what they had learned during the workshops.  Here are their best bits:

Dogs Trust visited Ballyduff Lower National School.  Fifth and sixth got a visit from Deirdre and her two dogs Cónán and Sadhbh.  She was talking about safety around dogs...  Don't rub the dog while he is sleeping or eating.  Don't go up to a stray because you don't know if he's in a a bad humour or a good humour.  I enjoyed this very much.  Thank you Deirdre & Sadhbh and Cónán.
Kellie, Rang V

Deirdre told us never climb into a dog's bed and don't rub your dog when he or she is eating.  If a dog growls and you don't listen to that they could start to snap and if you don't listen to that the dog could bite so the next time you will not make the same mistake as last time... And at the end Deirdre let us rub a dog but before you rub the dog you put your hand in a fist and leave the dog lick or sniff your hand then you rub the dog where the dog likes to be rubbed.

Deirdre also told a very good sign for meeting dogs with their owners, it was W.A.L.T.  The W in W.A.L.T. means walk to the owner.  The A means ask.  The L means let the dog sniff your fist.  The T means touch...  If you see a dog outside the shop you do not go near it and if you see a stray dog don't go rub it.  Don't run from the dog because it will think that you are playing catch and then chase after you.  So if you are in that situation Deirdre said to put your hands into the X-Factor and then do not look at the dog.  You never know if a dog is nice or not and even if it's your own dog you should never be rough... I had a great time with them coming over, it was so fun.
Grace, Age 10, Múinteoir Connie

Deirdre told us when approaching a dog first you have to close your fist and let the dog sniff it but never approach a dog when it's in bed, attached to a pole, on his own or when he is eating.  She told us if you see a stray dog and you are afraid of him, don't run away from him because the dog thinks you are playing catch so just stand still and cross your hands away from the dog so he thinks you're boring... At the end we all got to pick a dog and let them sniff our hand first and then rub them.  I picked Cónán to rub.  I thought Deirdre was really nice to let all 21 people to rub a dog.  Deirdre was really funny to hear and watch and I hope to see her and the two dogs again.

Deirdre, Sadhbh and Cónán would like to say thanks to all the pupils and staff at Ballyduff NS for such an enjoyable visit.  We're glad you learned so much.  Woof and kisses xxx


Thursday, 29 October 2015

A Very Lovely Letter

Recently our Executive Director, Mark Beazley, received a very lovely letter from a schoolgirl called Amie from Co. Tipperary.  Amie's school had been visited by South East Education Officer Deirdre and it was clear from her letter that over 2 years later, Amie was still very much impacted by what she learned about dogs during the workshop.  Below is a copy of Amie's letter, along with the response given by Deirdre:

Dear Amie,
First of all Mark would like to thank you very much for your lovely letter, he said it made his day!  Mark has asked me to write to you on behalf of all the staff and dogs at Dogs Trust, as I am the Education Officer who visited your school two years ago with my Education Dogs, Sadhbh and Cónán.  I am so pleased that you enjoyed our visit and that you are still thinking about us two years later!  I have some good news:  I will be returning to your school this December to do some brand new educational workshops.  Myself and the dogs are really looking forward to meeting you all again!
I am glad to hear you and your sister have such a love for dogs – especially King Charles Spaniels and Pugs!  You were wondering what dogs would be suitable for younger children.  At Dogs Trust we
believe in ‘deed, not breed’ – that basically means we think any breed of dog can make a great family pet if they have an owner who does the good ‘deed’ of bringing them up with lots of care, attention and respect.  My advice to you would be to always try your best to be a responsible dog owner and to help your family make sure your dog is healthy and happy.  Remember, dogs need two meals and two walks a day, plenty of water, a comfy bed, some fun toys and most importantly, an owner who loves them.
At present we have over 200 dogs and puppies at our centre, all looking for their fur-ever homes!  Since Dogs Trust opened  in 2009 we have seen thousands of dogs come through our doors.  In fact, we rehome around 1000 dogs every year!  One dog who really sticks in my mind is a Greyhound called Brave.  He was tied up outside Dogs Trust with a broken leg, held together with tape.  Luckily our fantastic vet team managed to save his injured leg and Brave even went on to work as an Education Dog in East Munster!  It’s stories like this that make working at Dogs Trust so fulfilling. We think every dog deserves a second chance, which is why we never destroy a healthy dog.
I hope I have answered all your questions, and I’ll see you very soon!
Best wishes,
We would like to thanks Amie very much for writing to us, as knowing the positive effect an Education Workshop can have on our future dog owners is what makes the job the Education Officers and their dogs do so very worthwhile!  If you would like to book a workshop with one of our team, contact or find details of your local Education and Community Officer on

Friday, 16 October 2015

Happy dogs at Halloween! Ollie & Odie's Top Tips!

Can you believe that it's almost Halloween?! We bet that you're all looking forward to some dressing up and trick or treating this year. We here in the Education and Community Team love this time of year (so much so that we've decided to celebrate with a Howl-o-ween event! More on that later!), but we know that our dogs might not feel the same. Can you imagine how strange it must be for them, all these new visitors to the door, not to mention all the scary costumes!


So, we asked new boys Odie & Ollie to put together some doggy friendly tips to help us make sure our dogs aren't scaredy cats at Halloween!

Staying in & going out

At this Halloweens thing there’s lots of new peoples walking around, well, they smell like peoples, but sometimes they don’t look like peoples!!! I don’t like to go out when they’re around as it’s a little bit scarey. There’s lots of loud noises (something called fireworks? Sound like explosions to me!) and strange smells too, so Dawn’s going to bring me out for a walk early she says- then I can have lots of time in the nights to chew on my toys! Yay! I have to stay on my lead on our walks just in case I gets a fright and run off, I don’t want Dawn getting lost! I’m also going to make sure that she comes out to the garden with me on my nightly patrol and bathroom break! I feel safer if she’s there with all the strange goings on! Dawn’s also checked my ‘chip to make sure our address is on it especially cos we moved house recently!

This is how I plan to spend
My big brother Jake has told me all about Halloween. He says that the small people knock on the door a lot, and that Fiona and Ian have to give them some chocolate and sweets to get them to go away again! I don’t mind people knocking on the door, but I think if there’s as many as Jake says there’ll be, then I would feel better if I stay in the kitchen. That’s where my nice cosy bed is, and it’s far away from the front door. I have lots of toys stashed in here too so I can play with those, and Jake says the grown ups will leave the radio on for us so that we can listen to that and not pay attention to the visitors! Result!
Sweet Stuff

Speaking of chocolates, did you know that this yummy sweet stuffs is actually really bad for us dogs? We could get very ill if we eat any, even though we might forget that and try to eats it all!!! Dawn has some chocolates and sweets in the cupboard ready for the small peoples to call, but I can’t get to them to eat them (they smells sooooooo good though!). I have my own yummy dogs treats anyway, so it’s not so bad.
And and and!!!!! Don’t give us sweets either!!! Jake says they can make us ill too. I might enjoy eating one but I know I wouldn’t enjoy being sick afterward, so keep them away from us doggies, even if we look like we really want one! Don’t forget that us dogs have super smelling powers and even if you hide them under your bed, we can still sniff them out! So put them up high or somewhere we definitely can’t get to them!
Dressing Up?
Us dogs aren’t people you know? So don’t make us wear a dog costume if we don’t want to! Especially if it covers our eyes, nose or ears- if we can’t use these parts of us we get very scared! If you're dressing up, please remember that even though you might smell the same as always- you look different! Do you know how weird that is to us?!
Also, make sure your decorations aren’t tempting us doggies! We do love to pick up exciting things on the floor and give them a good chew to see if they’re tasty, so make sure any decorations are out of our reach! And don’t leave us alone in a room full of decorations- you may come back to a mess, or worse, we could hurt ourselves.
So there you have it, our top doggy tips for Halloween! The humans have also put together some tips below, but we think you'll agree ours are the best!

Happy Howl-o-ween!

Thursday, 1 October 2015

World Animal Day

Sunday the 4th October is World Animal Day and people  all over the globe will be celebrating and paying tribute to their own animals, and also commemorating and promoting a respectful relationship with all animals that we share the Earth with.
In honour of World Animal Day, The Education and Community Team at Dogs Trust thought we'd share with you what we are thankful to our pets for:



Our very own Deirdre also penned this lovely poem to commemorate all pets on this fantastic day.
My friend may have four paws, not feet,
A snout or muzzle, wings to beat.
He may be black with silky fur,
A swishing tail and rumbling purr.
He may be giddy and such fun,
A grinning face and waggy bum.
He may be small with a long tail,
With shiny eyes and fur that’s pale.
He may not talk but he can hear.
(That’s why he’s got such giant ears.)
He may not know when I’m not there
I’m thinking of him; I still care.
He may not know he has my heart,
My pet, my friend, we’ll never part.
Deirdre Uí Dhubhda ©

We hope you agree that Deirdre's poem sums up perfectly the joy of having a pet, why not read it to yours on Sunday, and show him/her how much you appreciate them :)
For those of you celebrating World Animal Day in the South West, why not come along to PAWS for Wellbeing's pet blessing in Castletownbere on Sunday? It will be a lovely afternoon shared with lots of other animal lovers, including our ECO for the South West, Dawn.  Details below.