Offaly guide dog owner helps mark World Diabetes Day

Guide dog Owner Mary Burns from Birr in Offaly will graduated from Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind (IGDB) with her second Guide Dog ‘Sam’ on Friday 16th November.

Guide dog Owner Mary Burns from Birr in Offaly will graduated from Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind (IGDB) with her second Guide Dog ‘Sam’ on Friday 16th November.

When Mary’s first guide dog ‘Geish’a was retiring Mary said it took her only a moment to consider getting another Guide Dog.

“Getting a Guide Dog gave me the confidence to go out my front door,” she commented

Mary explained her story. “As my eye sight was deteriorating, I thought I would have to wait until I was completely blind to get a Guide Dog, but i was delighted to find out that this was not the case. I had stopped going out, stopped travelling to Dublin on my own, stopped meeting friends, but once i got Geisha I was able to go where I wanted. Having a Guide Dog opened up new opportunities for me and i have the confidence to go places. A Guide Dog is also great company you are never really alone when you have a Guide Dog. Also when people see me out and about with my Guide Dog they will give me more space to get about and offer to help me across the road, people can’t help enough they are so kind and are very positive about the dog and happy to learn about Guide Dogs. I will miss Geisha but I am looking forward to bringing Sam my new Guide Dog home.”

Mary also helped IGDB to Mark World Diabetes Day, as Mary has Diabetic Retinopathy. Lean Kennedy IGDB Access and Education Officer explained, “people don’t realise that one person goes blind each week in Ireland from diabetes. The services we provide help people like Mary to overcome the challenges posed by eye conditions resulting from diabetes, such as, diabetic retinopathy and maculopathy. Diabetic Retinopathy is one of the main causes of sight loss in Ireland”.

Mary enjoys the freedom, independence and companionship that comes from owning a Guide Dog. Over the next few weeks, her Guide Dog Mobility Instructor will visit Mary and Sam to ensure they are getting out and about, safely and confidently, in Mary’s home area.