Daniel and Piper step up for charity

A Cavan boy and his dog have been named this year's Woodie’s Heroes ambassadors

A Cavan boy and his dog have been named this year's Woodie’s Heroes ambassadors on behalf of Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland.

Daniel Gilsenan (8) from Bailieborough and his dog Piper are the faces for this year's campaign, which has raised €3 million for Irish children's charities since 2015.

Daniel’s father Mark explains how Piper has not just changed Daniel’s life but the family as a whole, saying: “Before Piper's arrival Daniel was a constant flight risk and even the simplest of tasks of going to the shop for milk was extremely difficult. However, since Piper joined the household, the whole family’s lives has been transformed. Piper is a ‘gentle leader’, keeping Daniel comfortable and calm.”

One recent example of Piper’s positive impact was Daniel's First Holy Communion. Before getting Piper, Daniel (who is non-verbal) found it very challenging to sit still in one place for a prolonged period of time. However, since Piper’s arrival, everyday tasks and outings have become more enjoyable for both Daniel and his family. Daniel was able to sit through his full Holy Communion ceremony with a proud Piper by his side and an even prouder family watching on. The Gilsenan family are big GAA fans and have also been able to attend matches together with Piper keeping Daniel safe and comfortable.

Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland (AADI) receives over 300 yearly applicants but can only fulfil approximately 30 requests. It costs €25,000 to fully train an autism assistance dog. The funds raised through Woodie’s Heroes campaign will enable AADI to train more puppies and change the lives of more children who need the support of a dog like Piper.


Woodie's CEO Damien Dwyer said they are “thrilled" to embark on their annual campaign.

“Now in its ninth year, this initiative would not be possible without the unwavering support of our dedicated colleagues, loyal customers, and valued suppliers, who have consistently come together to make a remarkable impact."

This year four charities set to benefit from the funds - ISPCC Childline, Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland, Down Syndrome Ireland and Make-A-Wish Ireland.

You can donate at the till in your local Woodie’s store, or scan the iDonate QR code online.

You can also text one of the keywords below to 50300 to donate €4:

- ISPCC to 50300 to support ISPCC Childline

- AADI to 50300 to support Autism Assistance Dogs Ireland

- DSI to 50300 to support Down Syndrome Ireland

- MYWISH to 50300 to support Make-A-Wish Ireland

*Each text cost €4. Charities will receive a minimum of €3.60 per text. The service provider is Like Charity. Helpline: 01-4819311.

The campaign runs from now until August 12.