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The DCFE Community Dog

Ulreeka's Journey

Meet Ulreeka

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Her Story began with one of the Irish Guide Dogs wonderful Puppy Raisers.

Ulreeka joined our family in Jan 2021 when she was just 8 weeks old, she was our second puppy to puppy raise.  She was so small and beautiful. Ulreeka settled right in, for the first few weeks we took her for walks in our arms and she got used to sounds and learned her busy busy command.

 

As the weeks progressed Ulreeka’s took to her training so well hitting all her targets. She had many visits to the shops, restaurants, using the lift, taking trips on buses/trains and was an excellent supporter for our local Camogie matches. She wasn’t so keen on using the stairs at first but with the amazing support of our puppy supervisor Rose who gave us several tips & tricks Ulreeka figured it out. Ulreeka had such a calm temperament, she really enjoyed her play time & cuddles so much.


Ulreeka

She loved her free runs at our local beach but was never really keen to put more than her paws in the water. She loved a good game of hide & seek with the girls even though she was always the one doing the seeking, oh the excitement of finding them, such a clever girl!! She was so well known in our village and always attracted attention as her tail just waged at a furious rate when anyone was passing by.

 

She absolutely loved meeting people and the attention. She brought such joy & happiness to our house in the 14 months she was with us. Whilst it was a terribly sad day saying goodbye for her to start her formal training at HQ we knew that good things would always be in store for Ulreeka. 

Valerie Murphy - Puppy Raiser

Ulreeka standing

Next it was off to Learn how to be trained as a guide dog with Tara

"I had her in training a short time before handing her over to Hannah originally. Very sweet dog the only girl with 9 brothers! She was puppy raised in Cork and as I recall her Puppy raisers nicknamed her “Reeka” which stuck while she was in kennels 😊"

Tara - Trainer 

Ulreeka Guide Dog sitting
Ulreeka
Ulreeka the dog
Ulreeka

Ulreeka came to the college in September 2021, where she became the most favoured member of staff. After she had finished her training with Tara, Eimear Keneally took over. With Eimear, she heightened her skills on her road to becoming a Guide Dog. But on that route Ulreeka decided that being a Guide Dog was not her forte as she was very uncomfortable with the guiding harness.

 

Catherine Joyce, the Learning Support Coordinator and Equine teacher recognised that there were huge benefits to having a Dog in the Learning hub to support students with learning difficulties. She consulted with Principal Denis Leonard and Deputy Principal Emer Cloak on the idea of getting a Community Dog. The college then collaborated with the Guide Dogs to implement the Community Dog Programme.  The suitability of the college, Catherine's house was evaluated and Catherine was invited to Cork to begin training as a handler. Ulreeka graduated from training and was assigned to the college in July of 2021. Both Catherine and Emer were trained and approved by IGDB and ADI. 

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Ulreeka brings so much joy and comfort to the college. She provides emotional support, reduces stress, and enhances mood with her playful antics and affectionate nature. Ulreeka also fosters social interaction among students, all while teaching valuable life skills like responsibility and empathy. With her comforting presence, Ulreeka makes our college feel like home for everyone.

Ulreeka is stationed in the Learning Hub and roams freely, greeting students and accepting as many belly rubs as she can get. Ulreeka is highly intuitive and often sits beside students who are anxious, and some students have even booked sessions with her before assessments to help them ground themselves. One student stated that "she helps calm me when I get overwhelmed with assignment work," and another said, "she just makes me smile anytime I see her. I am so happy that we have Ulreeka in the college." Ulreeka is also beloved by the teachers who enjoy seeing her every day.

"Ulreeka is our best assest at the college, she is truly a wonderful dog and I am so grateful that we have her here with us. She has made a huge impact on the students. We could never repay the Irish Guide Dogs for us having Ulreeka at the college".

 

Catherine - Ulreeka's Handler

 

She still loves her free runs!!

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