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MADRA to host 'Doggy Blind Date!'

Left to right MADRA Matchmaker Marina Fiddler, Presenter Caitlin Nic Aoidh, Potential Adopter Melanie O Flynn, MADRA dogs Rula, Stella & Crinkle
Left to right MADRA Matchmaker Marina Fiddler, Presenter Caitlin Nic Aoidh, Potential Adopter Melanie O Flynn, MADRA dogs Rula, Stella & Crinkle

Find your “pawfect” four-legged match with Ireland’s first Doggy Blind Date

Dog rescue charity MADRA is calling on people to apply to take part in its ‘Doggy Blind Date’ programme which will take place on Valentine’s weekend in Galway city.

The canine matchmaking initiative will be the first of its kind in the country and the charity aims to find some lucky humans their new best friend , while also highlighting the importance of choosing the right dog for your lifestyle.

The MADRA team will shortlist applications (which will be accepted from anywhere in the country), and choose individuals or families to participate in the matchmaking scheme. A final shortlist of three participants will go forward to take part in the Doggy Blind Date event on Sunday 12 February where they will unveil their chosen dog live on stage - they will have had the opportunity to meet with their three different dogs in a calm environment in advance of the event. 

The Doggy Blind Date event will take place in conjunction with one of the charity’s popular Dog Adoption Days, where as many as thirty dogs will be brought into the city from the Connemara-based rescue centre looking to find their new homes.

The canines who have failed to woo their potential new owners on stage will have a second chance at finding a home at this adoption event. Similarly, those who applied to take part in the programme but failed to make the shortlist can also attend and apply to adopt a dog at the event.

The Doggy Blind Date process will be filmed from start to finish to create awareness of the thousands of rescue dogs that are available for adoption across the country, and to highlight some of the common pitfalls people make when choosing a dog.

Marina Fiddler is the co-founder of MADRA and she will be taking on the role of canine matchmaker, a role she has been fulfilling for over eleven years since the charity was established in 2005. Marina and the charity’s team of volunteers and staff have successfully matched thousands of dogs with their lucky owners over the years.  

Potential adopters will meet with the canine matchmaker to discuss their lifestyle and what they are looking for in a dog. A home check will also be carried out to ensure that the home environment is suitable for a four-legged friend, with adequate fencing and a cosy indoor space for the dog to sleep at night.

Explaining how the idea for the event came about, Ms Fiddler commented: “Here at MADRA we regularly get to act as matchmakers, but unfortunately we also have to deal with the break ups too. 

"Over one-third of the 850 dogs we rescued last year were surrendered directly by their owners, with the remainder coming from local authority pounds. There are a variety of reasons why people give up their dog, but the most common mistake people make is not choosing the right dog in the first place, or not thinking about the long-term commitment that comes with dog ownership.

“Sometimes people come to us with a very clear idea of the type or breed of dog that they are interested in, or they may have seen a dog on our Facebook page or website, but they often leave with a very different dog after a lesson in matchmaking.

“We want people to look at what’s on the inside, not just the outside, in the same way people should look for a human companion. We all know that looks aren’t everything, and I’m hoping that people will put their trust in me to find them the dog that will become their perfect four-legged companion. I guess you could say that I’m playing Canine Cupid” she joked.

Those interested in participating are asked to email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before 5pm on 16 January and they will be sent out a questionnaire to complete. Applicants must be willing to participate in interviews and filming and be available for the live event in Galway on February 12.

For more information or to arrange an interview with Marina Fiddler email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 086 8149026

Mission Statement

MADRA is a Connemara based dog rescue & re-homing facility whose ultimate and overall aim is to ensure that all dogs have permanent, loving homes. MADRA works to educate members of the general public to have a responsible attitude towards dogs and their welfare and to help create a world where no healthy, good-natured dogs are killed merely because they are considered to be a surplus number.

Members of the Association of Dogs and Cats Homes

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Registered in Ireland Number 564962 - Registered Office: Connemara Kennels, Camus, Co. Galway