24 Jan 2022

Fun-loving Offaly girl hopes to get on waiting list for guide dog

Fun-loving Offaly girl hopes to get on waiting list for guide dog

Aryia is a fun and bubbly little girl who would benefit greatly from a guide dog

Aryia is a beautiful free-spirited, fun-loving little girl who lights up any room she walks into. People are naturally drawn to this nearly 5 year old girl who loves bubbles, balloons and bouncing.

These words can be used to describe many children of this age but for Aryia, day to day living has been that little bit more challenging as she has autism, is non verbal, and as well as being a huge sensory seeker, she is a massive flight risk.

This little girl from Tullamore who loves to spin, flap her hands and dance around when she gets excited also loves to run and can bolt without a second's notice.

''Aryia has absolutely no sense or awareness of danger and a puddle and a river hold the same value to her as she literally would jump in two feet first without a second thought,'' explained her mother Robyn,

''As Aryia gets older and much stronger she has outgrown her buggy which she uses alongside her 2 year-old sister but sometimes we don't have a choice as the risk of her running onto the road is too high.''

Aryia's family have decided to fundraise for the Irish Guide dogs as they provide assistance dogs for families like Aryia's.

''Together with our team we have walked, cycled, ran, and some rode horseback on our way to 100k. Some people may not be aware but these assistance dogs literally save lives and act as an anchor when a child tries to bolt as the child does what are called attachment walks with the dog so they cannot run away. They also give families like ours the freedom to go about their daily living with the ease and in this case extra set of paws to assist them at activities such as shopping, going to matches or even a trip to the park.

Some of these activities that people do with their families every day aren't always possible for families like ours and so the other children in the family tend to miss out on having that parent at the sideline cheering them on as they play for their local team.'' said Robyn.

It costs over €40,000 to train an assistance dog and the majority of funding comes from public donations. So the demand for this service and these dogs is huge.

''The money we have raised to date goes straight to the Irish Guide dogs. This is not a fundraiser for Aryia to get a dog, but we will continue to apply to get on a waiting list so that Aryia can too have the security and safety she needs to be able to walk independently and go about her daily living without the constant threat and fear of some harm coming to her. We will continue to fight to put all supports in place keep our little wildflower safe.''

You can read Aryia's story and follow the page HERE.

Aryia's dad Tony is a manager in the Lidl Store on Church Street and they have been extremely generous and allowed the family within covid guidelines and regulations to place collection buckets and tap to donate systems at the end of each till this coming Friday the May 28.

''All support is greatly appreciated and we are overwhelmed by the response and kindness of everyone including all local businesses who have shared our team,'' said Robyn.

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