The Animal Charity Empower Assistance Dogs
Shown below are some of the amazing assistance dogs and incredible children that Aussie Pooch Mobile have been associated with over the years.
Aussie Pooch Mobile began their work with the Assistance Dogs Program in 2007 in conjunction with Craig A Murray Specialist Dog Trainers (now operating under not for profit organisation Empower Assistance Dogs) and Variety The Children’s Charity. “The dogs trained to help assist these special needs children are amazing,” says Chris Taylor “Not only do these dogs get a second chance at life, they help change the lives of the children, empowering them to lead a more independant life.”
Liam and Hero
10 year old Cerebral Palsy sufferer Liam Siltala has his Assistance Dog Hero to help him with all his day to day tasks. Hero goes to school with Liam and helps him by picking up anything he may drop and helps him with his general motor skills by throwing the ball for him. (which they both love).
A letter from Hero…
I'm Hero and I thought it was about time I updated you on my journey seeing as I'm now with my new family and in my new home. It's been quite a long learning experience but as you'll see it's all been worthwhile. It was Liam's birthday on the 15th April so guess what - I was his 10th birthday present!!!
I go to school everyday now with Liam and get to do heaps of things. I have to sit on the side of the pool while Liam has swimming lessons and then we go back to the classroom and I get to take it easy for a while (unless Liam drops something of course). Craig and Tracey took me to the school for training before I went to live with Liam so that I would be ready. I've been going through my own school for quite a while now! I was very happy at the school as everyone was so nice. I enjoy going there - Liam is definately happy for me to be there with him and the teachers are great. Liam even plays ball with me - my favourite. I love it as we are allowed to do it in the classroom. Liam has to throw the ball into this thing to practice his motor skills (I didn't see any motor???) and it is great fun as I can pick up the ones that he drops and take them back to him. This'll be good 'cause we both get to play. I like school - for me school always means good times. Now I get to go everywhere with Liam.
We've been shopping too. Liam's favourite shop is the video game shop so I think we will go there lots. I've been to heaps of fun places whilst I've been in my dog training school like shopping centres, parties, bowling, etc. so I feel very comfortable when going out with Liam and his family. When Liam finishes school I go home with him on the school bus. This is a really big car with heaps of kids. They strap Liam into the bus and they let me lay at the bottom of the chair. I think I'll stick by this kid - he's nice to me and whenever he looks at me he is happy. That's a really nice feeling.
The school bus lets us out at Liam's house. Craig and Tracey said this is my new house. Everyone is very nice to me there and I think I'll be very happy with my new family. They have other kids too - Kyle who is Liam's little brother (and gets me my water) and Kayla is the new baby. See, I've worked out pretty quickly that the kids give you the best attention so I'm sure between the three of them I'll be doing great!!!
Liam and I have always known that we were going to be together but I think it was a nice start for me to move in on his birthday. It was a nice day for his birthday. I went to the park with Craig and Tracey and the people from Aussie Pooch Mobile Dog Wash and Variety. Alot of other people that supported Liam and I were there too. It was a really nice day and one that neither Liam or I will ever forget. Thanks everyone and I'll let you know how we get on from here!
Harry and Reily
When 3-year-old Riley Paterson from Norman Park in Queensland was diagnosed with high functioning autism spectrum, his parents, Linda and Tony were naturally overwhelmed.
Luckily Harry the pound puppy who was rescued by specialist dog trainers, Craig and Tracey Murray, came to Riley's rescue. This wonderful little dog is getting a second chance at life while providing a special little boy a chance to improve his life.
Harry was taught obedience by both hand signal and verbal command so that Reilly has both tactile and verbal commands to use.
"Harry has changed our lives," says Linda, Riley's mum. "Managing Reilly in the community has become easier and Reilly fell in love with Harry as soon as he met him. We thank Aussie Pooch Mobile every day for giving us the opportunity to have Harry.’
The best Christmas present ever...Malaya received her new best friend Max, an assistance dog from Empower!
8 year old Malaya Harris suffers from Autism and anxiety and after an Autism website recommended an Assistance Dog for Malaya, Variety the Children’s Charity and Empower Assistance Dogs stepped in to help out.
Max was originally dumped by a previous owner at the pound for his once naughty behavior. Craig Murray, one of the trainers at Emp
ower Assistance Dogs says, “All Max needed was a bit of guidance and to be shown who was boss. Furthermore he does have a very big heart and personality which actually makes him the perfect match for Malaya”.
Jacob Johnson and his Assistance Dog Lou
Jacob Johnson was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder with Pervasive Developmental Delays (PDD) in May 2007 which was a huge shock to the whole family.
ASD affects Jacob in a number of areas – limited eye contact, social communication with his peers, meltdowns, obsessions and inability to concentrate and maintain focus on tasks that are outside his obsessions. Now thanks to Variety Queensland, Aussie Pooch Mobile and Craig & Tracey Murray Lou was trained to distract and soothe Jacob and to help in conversing with his peers.
Jazmin Bromley and her dog Colin
Jazmin suffers arthrogryposis, a disorder affecting her muscles and joints and robbing her of mobility and even the capability to pick up something she has dropped. Her dog Colin helps her complete simple tasks most people take for granted, like getting up after a fall.
See here Jazmin’s story as seen on the Today Show
Lewis and Bouncer
9-year-old Lewis Puddiford was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, autism and ADHD. After a year of training and testing, a golden Labrador named Bouncer joined the Puddiford family. Lewis was overjoyed to receive an assistance dog of his own. Bouncer gives lewis more independence in his daily life, as he’s able to ask Bouncer to retrieve objects, turn off lights, help him get on and off the ground and accompany him in social situations. Since receiving Bouncer there has been a big difference in Lewis’ confidence. Having a constant companion by his side helped him to bond with his younger sister, sleep easier and reduce his anxiety.
Empower Assistance Dogs is also open to children who through circumstance (accident etc) are now working through rehabilitation. They are a great motivator.
An Assistance Dog will take approximately 6 – 12 months to train and the cost to train a dog like this is approximately $25,000. Variety Queensland provides appeals for special children throughout Queensland and Aussie Pooch Mobile Dog Wash helps fundraise for these appeals.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the supporters of the Assistance Dog Program. Without these supporters, and the kind donations of the public it would be impossible for us to achieve the result of placing these dogs with their deserving recipients and changing their lives.
Benefits of an Assistance Dog
- As a motivator for communication
Help build independence.
Having a four legged friend to talk too
Helps build confidence
As an ice breaker – people tend to want to talk to the dog which provides an opportunity for interaction.
Helps with exercise
Some tasks an Assistance Dog can do…
- Can go everywhere with the child – including school, shopping centres etc
Pick up dropped items
Fetch required items – phone, drink bottle, bag etc
Alert you to doorbells, phones etc
Open fridges, dryers
Be a friend
Makes you feel happy