Maxol has announced the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind and Guide Dogs NI as its newly appointed charity partners. In creating this all-island initiative, CEO of the Maxol Group, Brian Donaldson explained that it wasn’t until he met and spoke to a Guide Dog owner that he fully appreciated the life-changing impact these highly trained and intuitive dogs can have, giving a person not only confidence but independence too.
Over the course of the two-year partnership, Maxol, Ireland’s leading family-owned forecourt and convenience retailer, aims to support the charities by increasing the awareness and impact of their important work. Maxol has committed to funding the training of at least six Assistance Dogs. In total, it costs approximately €53,000/£50,000 to breed, train, and care for each of these special dogs over the course of their working lives.
Guide and Assistance Dogs, of which there are over 360 in Ireland but with a need for many more, play a vital role for those with visual impairment and in ROI, for children with autism, transforming their day-to-day lives and enabling them to feel safe and take part more in their communities.
Brian Donaldson said: “With so many charities in need of urgent funding selecting just one cause to which we will commit our resources is hugely challenging. But when we looked not only at the work of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind and Guide Dogs NI but also the positive and tangible impact the charities can have on so many people’s lives - children, adults, and their families - we saw a really compelling case. With a strong and widespread community presence, much like our own business, we are looking forward to getting behind their work, with the support of our retailer network, and ensuring Maxol makes a difference.”
Maxol will leverage its all-Ireland retailer network of more than 240 Maxol service stations and also hopes to garner the support of communities around the country to raise much-needed funds to help transform a person’s life.
The saying ‘A dog is for life’ takes on a special meaning for those who require the assistance of a Guide Dog because, for them, the dog is their ‘enabler’, allowing them to live life to the full.
Tim O’Mahony, Chief Executive Officer of Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind said: ”We are delighted to be chosen as Maxol’s charity partner. Their support will have a huge impact; ensuring that we can deliver more Guide Dogs and Assistance Dogs over the next two years – essentially bringing independence and mobility to the lives of our clients and many families. The partnership will have a life-changing impact across communities as we develop links with our nationwide volunteer Branches and their local service stations.“
Many blind and visually impaired people experience isolation and fear, and doing things that most people take for granted such as going shopping, attending college or work, having a social life and travelling can present enormous challenges. The dogs trained by the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind and Guide Dogs NI offer a lifeline to people in these situations, allowing them to live their lives with a newfound sense of safety, mobility, and independence.
Kyla McVicar, Business Development Manager, Guide Dogs NI said: “It’s amazing to be partnering with Maxol for this very unique collaboration. Guide Dogs NI offer a range of services for adults and children affected by a vision impairment, and their families. It costs over £50,000 to support a guide dog from birth to retirement, from vet bills and training costs to food and transport. This commitment by Maxol will transform the lives of those living with a vision impairment in Northern Ireland and we are extremely excited by the opportunities in the two years ahead.”
Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind also supports children with autism and their families, for whom Assistance Dogs can be incredibly impactful. These dogs are trained specifically to work with children with autism, acting as a calming presence, helping with behaviour regulation, and improving social skills and confidence.
Maxol and its retailers are planning for a host of exciting fundraising and retail initiatives. The company has committed to supporting the charities with direct funding that will ensure more people will be matched with trained dogs over the coming months and years.
Check out the great work of the charities at
Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind | Guide and Assistance Dogs