Last updated: 1st April 2020

Given the current situation, it’s important that we come together as a community to help each other. Many Clients, members of our Community or family that they interact with are in the high-risk category. If you, or a family member you interact with, are in the high-risk category, please follow best practice guidelines by the HSE related to “cocooning”/self-isolation for the next few weeks. During this time, you will not be in a position to walk your dog. That’s ok – we can help.

Many people in our community have reached out to offer support to Clients, Puppy Raisers and Broodbitch holders in this position. If you require support from a Volunteer, or would like to Volunteer to support Clients, Puppy Raisers and Broodbitch holders, please contact a member of the Client Services team via email at clientservicesteam@guidedogs.ie and they will match you with a Volunteer who can help you.

To protect members of our Community, we have implemented the following protocols related to Volunteers collecting and returning Clients’ dogs after free running/walking the dog:

  1. Under current government protocols, Clients, Puppy Raisers, etc. are allowed to bring their dogs for a walk and go out in the community (if they feel comfortable to do so and provided, they are not in a high-risk category and remain within a radius of 2kms). However, we ask that you observe social distancing (i.e. stay a minimum of 2m/6 feet away from others at all times), do not meet in groups and do not go to places where this is high foot-fall/pedestrian traffic.
  2. If possible, do not travel on public transport or together in private vehicles i.e. places where social distancing cannot be practiced.
  3. Do not enter other peoples’ homes.
  4. If a Volunteer has agreed to help you, please note that they will only be in a position to take your dog out – they cannot take you also. In this case, the Volunteer will:
    • Arrange a suitable time to collect your dog and agree how often they can walk/free run your dog.
    • Call you approximately 10 minutes prior to each collection of your dog. On this call, they will ask if you or any member of the household are displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (Coronavirus) i.e. cough, shortness of breath, breathing difficulties, fever/high temperature.

(i) If you are sick, they will not be in a position to walk your dog until you have contacted your GP and are tested (as they run the risk of becoming ill or spreading the illness by taking your dog out).
(ii) If you have not been sick, they will ask you to place the dog somewhere they can collect them without interacting with you (if possible, an outside garden or run. If not, the front porch with the front door unlocked). This is for your and their own safety and part of social distancing protocol.

    • Collect the dog and use their own collar, lead and Halti – they will not use your equipment.
    • Bring your dog for a walk or free run in a suitable location where he/she is not interacting with a high number of people or animals.
    • Call you 10 minutes prior to returning your dog to let you know they will be there shortly (and so you don’t accidentally run into each other). They will give you a summary of what they did, where they went and how your dog behaved.
    • Return your dog to the dog run, garden or porch where they collected him/her.
    • When returning to their own home, the Volunteer will wash their hands and change all their clothes (which will be washed after each use) before greeting their own family, friends and pets.

Note: Volunteers will not support more than one Client, Puppy Raiser or Broodbitch holder each day i.e. they will not travel between homes interacting with multiple dogs each day.

Where a Volunteer has agreed to temporary board a Client’s dog, it is recommended by our vets that Volunteers:

  1. Arrange a suitable time to collect the dog.
  2. Call the Client approximately 10 minutes prior to collecting / returning the dog. On the call, the Volunteer should ask the Client to place the dog somewhere they can collect them without interacting with the Client (if possible, an outside garden or run. If not, the front porch with the front door unlocked). This is for the Client’s and Volunteer’s own safety and part of social distancing protocol.
  3. Collect the dog and use their own collar, lead and Halti – they will not use your equipment. The Volunteer will need to be given the dog’s food and advised of the correct amount.
  4. Bath the dog immediately upon returning home using normal dog shampoo. Note: We recommend the Volunteer wear gloves when collecting the Client’s dog and remains gloved until they return home and wash the dog.
  5. When returning the dog, we ask that the Volunteer bath the dog just prior to returning the dog to the Client (once again with normal dog shampoo). Note: We recommend the Volunteer wears gloves after the dog is washed and remains gloved until they return the dog to the agreed dog run, garden or front porch.