Our Planet In Motion was the theme of the art competition recently ran by Citadel Insurance, in which the children of its policyholders were encouraged to send in their interpretation of the theme. Twelve pictures were chosen by a panel of artists for inclusion in a 2015 calendar which was then offered to those donating towards the Service Dogs Malta Foundation.
“We wanted to fundraise for this worthy cause, not just as Citadel Insurance, but as a whole organization, including our clients and our service providers,” Angela Tabone, Citadel’s managing director and CEO, said. “There are around two to three thousand visually impaired people in Malta and we wanted to raise awareness on this issue. We would like to thank everyone who donated to or helped with this project, allowing us to raise €8,600 towards this worthy cause. We would especially like to thank all the children who participated and whose artwork features in the calendar, with every entry we received, reproduced on the calendar’s front cover,” she added.
The money raised by Citadel Insurance will go towards training service dog trainers for the Service Dogs Malta Foundation, and helping Bailey, a young Labrador puppy, become the Foundation’s first service dog.
“Currently it costs around €15,000 to have a service dog trained in the USA,” Sara Grech, co-founder and chairperson of the Service dogs Malta Foundation, said. “Such costs would not be sustainable in the long term, so we are raising funds to have Bailey trained, while also having three experienced local dog trainers receive specialized instruction to allow service dogs to be trained in Malta.”
This is important as service dogs do not cater for just the visually impaired. Those with mobility issues, psychiatric issues, as well as those suffering from conditions such as diabetes, or the hearing impaired can all benefit from having a service dog. The Service Dogs Malta Foundation is working to make these animal helpers available for free to those that need them.
“Our first dog, Bailey, who is now just over one year old, is ready to begin her service dog training. She will soon be leaving her volunteer puppy raiser, who looks after the puppies for the first year and helps them to socialise, as well as offering basic obedience training,” Joseph Stafrace, co-founder of the Service Dogs Malta Foundation, said. “Such volunteers are badly needed by the foundation, and would greatly help us in raising the next generation of service dogs.”
For those wishing to volunteer their time, or donate, The Service Dogs Malta Foundation can be reached on http://www.servicedogsmalta.org/.