Certificate of Recognition – Jennifer Dowler

Working Together To promote the highest ethical professional standards.

Jennifer Dowler

For over a decade, Jennifer Dowler founder and CEO of the Irish Dogs for the Disabled has been providing dogs to children and adults with physical disabilities. Dogs for the Disabled assistant dogs are especially trained to assist the physically disabled to carry out a range of practical tasks in order to achieve greater independence. These everyday tasks include opening and closing doors, picking up dropped items, emptying the washing machine and helping a child with severe walking difficulties to walk with greater ease and balance. Over 80% of the charity’s clients are children, between the ages of 6 and 12 years, living with severe physical disabilities which effect their independence and social interaction. Speaking about the motivation for her life changing work, Jennifer said, “Seeing children and adults lives transformed because they can now walk unaided or go out on their own for the first time is very rewarding”. With over 150 dogs currently out working in partnerships, and many more being home fostered in their ethical breeding and training programmes, it costs the charity €15,000 to train and support each assistance dog. Dogs for the Disabled receive no government funding, relying completely on the generosity of sponsorship, donations and fundraising. The dogs are partnered with disabled people at no cost to them, and supported by the charity from birth to retirement, and beyond. Always innovative, another unique initiative Dogs for the Disabled are passionate about are their programmes in the Dochas Centre at Mountjoy Prison, Shelton Abbey and Coolmine Therapeutic Community where they train those on remand to work with the dogs whilst they are in training. In addition, Dogs for the Disabled are leading the way in the therapeutic use of dogs thorough their hospital visiting programme, which started in The Mercy Hospital Cork, the courthouse dogs programme, and they are also researching the beneficial use of trained assistance dogs for people living with Dementia and Alzheimer's. Having seen the success of the programme in Ireland, Jennifer’s long term vision is to replace their unique assistant dog stability programme around the world, whilst continuing to serve and help the most vulnerable in society. You can find their website here: