A SOUTHSIDE dog lover is preparing for a fundraiser with a difference as he dons a canine costume to help his furry friends.
Paul Smith, from Deansgrange, will walk within the new 5km restriction imposed by the Covid-19 crisis in aid of a charity very close to this heart.
Originally he was going to walk the almost 40km from his home to Finglas but due to the introduction of Level 5 restrictions he has had to come up with a new plan.
“On Saturday November 7 I will be walking 37km dressed in a dog outfit to raise funds for Dogs Trust Ireland,” Paul explained to Southside People.
“My reason behind doing this is I have a small part time pet sitting and dog walking business and I just wanted to raise some much-needed funds for such a fantastic organisation.
“Due to Covid, Dogs Trust’s funds and donations are down while at the same time they are dealing with a massive influx of unwanted ‘Covid puppies,’ dogs that people got back at the start of the crisis in March/April that they now don’t want anymore.
“All the funds I raise will ensure every dog in their care gets what they need, this includes things like vet treatment, microchipping, neutering and vaccinations.
“Dogs Trust also do great things in the community so if I can give something back that’ll be great.
“Hopefully I’ll earn a bit of money for them as a dog on the streets!”
Paul, who is originally from Liverpool, says his family is fully supportive of his fundraising efforts.
“They’re all getting behind me,” he added. “They think I’m a bit barmy but yes they are very supportive.
“My other half is more of a cat person, she and I did a lot of fostering for Phibsborough Cat Rescue.
“That’s how I got my nickname, ‘Poppa Paul’, because I used to look after the very sick and older cats I got the name because everyone said I was like a daddy to the cats.”
Paul worked in the financial services sector for over 30 years before he decided to completely change career two years ago.
“Initially I spent 26 years working for Barclays Bank, then I worked in the insurance industry for four years,” he revealed.
“A couple of years ago I decided I wanted to do something different so I decided to go down the pet care route.
“I’ve always loved animals, so I decided to start working as a dog walker and pet sitter.
“I now have a business, Poppa Paul Petcare, which I hope to grow over the next few years.
“I’m so happy when I’m out walking with the dogs, it’s such a healthier lifestyle than the financial sector.
“I’ve lost a bit of weight and I feel much fitter and healthier so the 37km I’ll cover shouldn’t be a problem.
“The biggest challenge with the Covid situation and the walking around is that I can’t street collect so I’ve set up a ‘Just Giving’ account online where people can make donations.
“If you search for ‘Paul’s 37km Trek for Terriers’ you find all the details there.
“Another challenge is to ensure I’m very careful to social distance, keep everyone safe and do it all in accordance with the guidelines.
“I’m really looking forward to it!”
Anyone who would like to sponsor Paul please click the following link