Good morning all.  Hope your all keeping well and had a good week? 

This week has been about family and poor old Hector was in the background.  That’s not to say he didn’t have fun or do anything nice!  Twice this week he met up with Nikita and had great free runs in the sand dunes and in the water.  He really does love the water, as does Nikita.  They jumped and ran through the water for ages.  He has been to Fairview Park and nice walks along the coast road.  He didn’t do any real work this week but I am sure we will be forgiven.

Alice graduated from Mount Temple and is preparing for her leaving cert.  Sarah graduated from 4th year Mount Temple and went to Ghana on Friday morning with the school for 21/2 weeks.
Not feeling too good so going to sign out will check in next week.
 
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Happy Birthday Hector!
Well time surely does fly, can you believe Hector is 7 months old today!  Judging by his size I am not surprised but he really is a baby, well, a naughty adolescent actually.  He still gets very excited when he meets people and thinks he is only a little thing but he is a bit too big and old for jumping up and saying hi to people.  We will have to talk to the powers that be and get some good advice on how best to deal with his over exuberance!!!    
Hector: Sure I am only a young one, don't be cross with me.  Its just I love all these wonderful  people and I just want to let them know how much I care.  I'll try real hard not to get so excited in future.  Okay....!
Well, after the hectic week of the coffee morning I thought we would not be so busy but that was not the case.  On wednesday last week we headed over to City West Country Hotel to the Young Social Innovators Final presentations and then the Awards.  
I thought we were popping over for a couple of hours to see a few schools in the finals do a presentation, then receive the appropriate awards and that we would be heading home by lunch time.  So, in my wisdom I brought Hector along with me, seeing as I thought it would only be for a couple of hours.  When I got there and much to my surprise, there were coach loads of transition year students arriving, approximately 3,500 students.  Wow, I thought, we are in for a long day!!!  
The Taoiseach, Norma Smurfit, Joan Burton, Sister Stan all spoke to the students and there was music from Mary Black and the Republic of loose!!!  The noise was incredulous at times, so, myself and Hector moved in and out of the conference centre according to the noise levels.  
We met so many people who knew all about him and were thrilled to meet him in person.  We actually met a student from Cork who had been a volunteer with her school in the kennels in Cork and she had played with him when he was 6 and 7 weeks old.  She could not believe how much he had grown. 
My daughter's group unfortunately did not win a prize but they had had a most amazing day,  it was an experience to be among so many young and inspiring people.
Hector:  It was a great day, loads of people to meet and say hi to.  Also a great opportunity to check out goodies the kids dropped.  Michele did try to stop me but sometimes I was just to fast for her!!
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The gardens in Kilmainham Hospital are stunning.
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Why is Michele walking behind us? Oh, its to get a nice picture of me!!
On one of the nice days we had we went to see the Diego Exhibition in Kilmainham Hospital.  Hector was not to keen on the art work but he was so well behaved as we walked quietly around from room to room viewing the amazing works. We then went out to the beautiful gardens and had a stroll around.  Hector was very tempted to hop into the fountain and have a splash around but sense prevailed. 
Hector:  You know I love water and it was very tempting to be so close to the water and not get my toes wet!!!
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Shall I get in the water or not!!!!!
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Can I have a go on that thing behind those flowers!!
Till next week guys, ciao....
 
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Jenny, Ciara and Sarah (Mount Temple Transition Year Students) with some of the guide dog pups!!
Click on the photo gallery tab above to see pictures of our Hector's Hey Day Coffee Morning!! It was a great success. We had great community support and a visiting 5th class from the Girls Belgrove National School who had been selling Shades pins in school.  The children all bought beautiful lilac flowers from the plant stall run by Bernie and Mary.  

The atmosphere was wonderful, with a great mix of people chatting and of course all the guide dog puppies in training who were brought along by their Volunteer Puppy Walkers got lots of attention. There were plenty buying Guide Dog merchandise and fabulous plants and many people just sitting down, relaxing and enjoying the coffee and fresh buns. 
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Some of the children and teachers that came from Belgrove National School to support our coffee morning.
We also had a tremendous amount of help from the staff of St Gabriel's Parish Community Centre; many great friends, Olwen, Carol, Carolyn, Debbie, Lucy, Frances, Caroline, Bernie and Mary to mention just a few.  Also, 3 Mount Temple Transition Year students came along and helped to sell the raffle tickets.  We got a very generous donation from RTE 2's Breakfast with Hector's Show of a night for 2 in any D4 Hotel in the country.  Maire Brennan from Mount Prospect Avenue in Clontarf won the 1st prize. There were numerous beautiful hampers of goodies very kindly made up and donated by Margurite O'Brien for the raffle. Even the coffee being served was was donated by Starbucks and made up by the queen of coffee making, Miranda Pheifer. 
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Some of the supporters enjoying a chat and some yummy fresh scones!
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Olwen, Carolyn (Hector's Tuesday minder) and Lucy having a well deserved cup of coffee after all thier hard work serving, making tea and tidying up.
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Anna Giblin (centre) with her daughter, left and Suzi Walsh at their stand where they sold little knitted dogs all in aid of IGDB.
It was a little sad when we officially said goodbye to our Northside Puppy Walking Supervisor Suzi Walsh who has worked with the Guide Dogs for well over 2 years.  I know we are all going to miss her but we will be keeping in contact.  
Best of luck Suzi in what the future has to offer you, you have the potential to go far!!

After a successful morning, which started with baking and included an interview on 2fm on "Breakfast with Hector", we're all overjoyed to have raised €2,500 for IGDB.  If you'd like to listen to the interview where I give godfather Hector an update on his 'adopted' pup Hector, simply click here, and scroll down to the Podcast of the show on 6 May: Part 2 (08h00 - 09h00), and forward to 22:07 on the timer to get to our interview on the show! 

Thanks to godfather Hector for supporting our cause and reminding people to donate and support puppy Hector as well as download our screensaver at www.guidedogs.ie.
 
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This Friday, the 6th of May, we are having our third annual coffee morning which will be held in St Gabriels Parish Hall, 10.30-12.30.  You will get to meet 4-legged Hector, Nikita, Chenna, Peggy and other guide dog pups!!!  

Last year we made €5,000 and AIB gave us €5,000, giving us a total of €10,000.  Is there anyone out there who would match what ever we make on the morning this year?

It has been claimed by many that we have run the best coffee mornings ever.  Come along and see for yourself.  Enjoy plenty of delicious freshly baked scones and buns  and a nice cup of fresh coffee.  Check out the great raffle prizes and merchandise.  All proceeds go to the Irish Guide Dogs.  Come and join us we would love to meet you!
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Roy and Hector at the Radisson Hotel, Stilorgan, Dublin.
Well guys, we had a brilliant day on Thursday last.  We met the famous Cork man, Roy Keane, he is such a gentleman.  Roy is the Patron of the Irish Guide Dogs.  The first part of the morning was dedicated to promotional photos with Roy for Shades week. Roy spent such a long time with the children and little pup Sammy.  He was so quiet calm and patient, never disturbing the photographer or getting fussed by the children.  Then it was time for photos of Hector with Roy and needless to say, Hector was brilliant!  I think Roy enjoyed Hector as he also has labradors and a german shepherd.  He petted him and talked to him.  Hector really enjoyed his time in the spotlight.
Hector:  You see I am a guy, so I love football and well, who wouldn't be delighted to meet a home grown famous Irish footballer like Roy Keane.  He was really kind and nice to me and all those compliments, well I'm now a truly committed fan.  Don't tell Hector O'hEochagain!! 
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Roy, the children and Sammy being talked through a photo shot by the photographer.
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Roy, the children and Sammy getting ready for another photo.
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I think Hector was telling Roy that he was a better football player than him!!! 4-legged Hector knew "well that was just a lie!!"
Oh my goodness, we then had a surprise visit from Hector O'hEochagain and producer Alan Swan.  It was brilliant to see them again.  We had lots to catch up on, filling them in on all Hectors accomplishments and escapades.

Hector O'hEochagain wanted to see what it was like to walk Hector and see what commands he knew.  I think he was suitably impressed.  Hector also enjoyed meeting him.    
Alan Swan, the producer of Breakfast with Hector, decided rather than doing the interview the next morning, why not do it on Friday 6th of May, the day of the coffee morningWe then had a surprises visit at lunch time from Hector O'hEochagain.  A double treat.
Hector: Yikes, I had to behave myself after our surprise visit, I was afraid Hector might get jealous so I had to stop hanging out with Roy.  You see Hector is my Godfather and he has been really good to me and I really love him, so, we chilled out together for the next few hours.  He even invited me and the humanoids to a barbecue in the summer, now I'm not going to miss the opportunity for some nice chow!!.
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Your not often privileged to  meet someone who is so giving and caring and fortunately for me I got to meet such a person, Noreen,  who last week received "Sammy" her 10th guide dog pup!!!
Now Sammy is the sweetest little thing you have ever seen, we all wanted a cuddle!

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Here is Sammy again being lovingly minded by Suzi our supervisor. Unfortunatly Suzi was on her 2nd last day working with the Guide Dogs.  She is truly going to be missed, even Sammy would agree!!

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What a nice profile Sammy!!
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Two sibling pups playing, Rua and Rory.
Talk to you all next week......ciao, Michele and Hector!!

    About this Blog

    Welcome to Puppy Hector's Blog:
    Follow RTE 2fm's "Breakfast with Hector" adopted pup's progress as he trains to become a guide dog for a person living with sight loss or an assistance dog for families of children with autism.

    RTE 2fm & Hector Ó hEochagáin:
      RTE 2fm's Breakfast Show Crew and host Hector ÓhEochagáin have been supporting pup Hector since adopting him at 8 weeks of age. During the last year, they have been helping us create awareness about our work and just what goes into into training a guide dog. Their support has been invaluable and has helped to raise much needed funds towards Hector's training. 


    About the Blog Authors, Susan Turtle and Michele Munnelly:
    Susan Turtle has been with Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind as a trainer for over
    13 years. Puppy Hector joined her in January this year to commence Early
    Training. She'll be keeping you posted on his progress over the next few months. Prior to January, Hector was with Volunteer Puppy Walker, Michele Munnelly who helped him get started
    on his journey to becoming a guide or assistance dog.  
      

    About Puppy Hector:
    Hector was born on 17 October 2010 and is German Shepherd x Golden Retriever. He is an intelligent, lively dog destined to become a life changing partner to a person living with sight loss or a family of a child with autism.   

    The role of a Puppy Walker:
    A Volunteer PW fosters a pup
    from 8 weeks of age to 12 months. During this time, the
    pup becomes part of their lives
    at home. A PW cares for and trains the pup to become a well rounded, confident, calm, willing, mannerly and socially acceptable dog.  The main focus
    is on obedience and socialisation, ensuring the pup is comfortable in many different environments like shops, restaurants, buses, trains, busy streets and malls etc.  Also the dog must get on with and not be distracted by people and other animals.  All of this provides the pup with a solid foundation for their future training and role as a guide or assistance dog. All training is done through positive reinforcement, learning should
    be fun, "a happy pup is a willing pup".

    Supported by PW Supervisors:
    Volunteer PWs are supported by our PW Supervisors who provide training and ongoing guidance. This is done through practical Puppy Training Classes, home visits and one‐on‐one training in supermarkets, shops, train
    stations etc.  The PW Supervisors provide valuable guidance and support to help equip our Volunteers for the task at hand and to monitor each pup's progress. All veterinary fees and feeding costs are covered by The Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind along with placing pups in homes when Volunteer PW's go on holidays.

    Come on and become a Puppy Walker for Irish Guide Dogs!
    It is a commitment but one that is rewarding and great fun!
    Go to www.guidedogs.ie to apply!

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guidehector@gmail.com www.puppyhector.weebly.com Hector having a snooze in his cozy dog crate after our walk and bus ride this morning