Aoibhín Garrihy has opened up about the special relationship she has with her beloved French Mastiff dogs.


After marrying her long-time boyfriend and hotelier, John Burke, the Castleknock-born actress uprooted from her native Dublin to Ennis, Co. Clare.  


The Irish stage and screen star said this cross-country move wasn't without its tribulations: “When I was down there, I felt that loneliness. I didn’t have a network of friends and family that I’d have in Dublin.

“My mental health probably suffered during that adjustment period."


However, this changed following the adoption of her first French Mastiff dog, Ruby. Garrihy said the isolation she was feeling melted away once she had furry companions, Ruby and Reggie, to look after: "I got Ruby first and, all of sudden, I stopped focusing on me. I had someone to be responsible for. It brought out my compassionate side, just the way kids do."



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It's common knowledge that dogs can be a great comfort to humans, and have been used for therapy and even to help children's reading skills.

The actress and stunning Dancing with the Stars contestant spoke to MummyPages ahead of 'Pawsitivity in the City', a family-friendly event created by Pedigree Ireland, that is sure to be a hit with urban-dwelling dog lovers.


Pawsitivity hopes to promote #PawsistiveLiving between dog and humans, with a series of talks, games, demos and even dances aimed at promoting positive pet-human relations. The event is taking place in Dublin's Merrion Square this Saturday (May 13 and 14), and Cork's Fitzgerald Park (May 20). Dog owners and their pooches will be able to shake their tails with the doggy disco, and even get the chance to test their dog's IQ level!


Pawsitivity will feature veterinarian and broadcaster Pete Wedderburn, who will provide pet tricks and tips. Pet behaviour expert Suzi Walsh will be on hand to offer advice and even tell you how you can train your dog to find missing keys!


Garrihy noted that Dublin isn't as dog-friendly as the States or the UK. Besides a handful of dog-friendly cafés and restaurants, most Irish businesses and even the beach in Ennis have a strict dog policy.


She said: "I find that when I do bring them out with me, I get strange responses from people because they are big. They're gentle giants, but I avoid people for their reaction, and even avoid other dogs. I've been asked to leave places because of my dogs. But I understand the hesitation of having large dogs around kids."



Garrihy will be attending the festivities in Dublin and Cork: "Now, to have something like this where people are going to be positive about dogs and want to meet other owners, I think that's really great. I'm really looking forward to it."


She also called the ISPCA's presence at the events 'brilliant'. The ISPCA will have a pop-up ‘Puppy Pen’, and will be giving people the chance to talk to their vets and nurses. ISPCA’s re-homing team will additionally be on site to talk to any prospective owners. Mums, take note!


As for expanding her family, Garrihy says: "No more dogs. Our two are quite a handful [laughs]. They're meant to be great with kids, so I won't be worried about that." What about children? "As I said, John is up in Everest, so I just want to get him home in one piece and we'll take it from there!"


You can find out more about Pawsitivity in the City on their website, or check out their Facebook events.


The two-day event in Dublin, and the one-day event in Cork are free, but we can imagine you'll have to spend money on a tasty treat from the food and coffee stalls on site.