21 Dec Buddy Dogs for Kids Program
Since helping the Guide Dogs WA launch the Buddy Dogs for Kids program following the success of our 2016 Gala Dinner, I am thrilled to let you know that it has been an amazing success.
As a major and founding partner and sponsor of the program, the Fragile X Foundation funding supports and helps provide essential items such as the purchase of dogs specific to the program, a purpose-built vehicle to transport dogs, specialist dog trainers and program support staff, professional training and development and training equipment.
A key part of this program is our partnership with Professor Andrew Whitehouse at the Telethon Kids Institute, who along with his team will test how the Buddy Dog improves the lives of our children and families. We hope that this will ensure the long-term sustainability of this exciting program
Incredibly, here are a list of the amazing Dogs which have been placed as either an Autism Assistant Dog or Companion Dog since the program launched –
Gus – Therapy/Companion Dog – Ronald MacDonald House
Hugo – Therapy/Companion Dog – Kalgoorlie High School
Demi – Companion Dog
Bonnie – Companion Dog
Lady – Companion Dog
Mitchell – Companion Dog
Ellie – Companion Dog
Cleo – Companion Dog
Ellie – Companion Dog
Margie – Companion Dog
Bazza – Therapy dog (currently on trial)
Koha –Autism Assistance Dog
Poppy- Autism Assistance Dog
Hilda – Autism Assistance Dog
Comet – Autism Assistance Dog
2 x Autism Assistance Dogs currently in training.
Please take a moment to read just how your amazing support has helped change the lives of so many families.
Testimonials, Client Stories and Outcomes
“Before Koha, I would always be wrangling Fletch or leaving Grace to chase and grab him. Now, with Koha, Grace can walk on one side of me and hold my hand and Fletcher can walk on the other side and hold Koha.
Grace was NEVER able to hold my hand, because I needed two hands for Fletch or I was chasing him. And with Fletcher sleeping through the night, cuddled up tight with Koha, both Fletcher and Grace are finally getting a good night’s sleep.” Kate – Fletcher’s Mum.
Bonnie had begun training at Guide Dogs WA, but she was destined for something a little different. Her unique skills meant she would make a perfect companion for a child with disability. Bonnie was the most precious gift they could have ever received. Beau was over the moon. The pair took to each other instantly. Two peas in a pod. Digging in the sandpit. Playing tug-of-war. Best friends. Running. Playing. Laughing.
With Bonnie, Beau has fewer meltdowns. When he does, she’s right there with him. When he starts getting worked up, he sits with Bonnie. Talks to Bonnie. Cuddles Bonnie. He calms down. The whole house calms down.
At seven years old, he’d only mastered a handful of words—but suddenly Beau had someone who understood him. “They don’t have speech, but they have love. That’s all they need.” Diana – Beau’s Mum.
From the moment Bailey met Demi, they knew it was! “There was an immediate bond: it was instant,” recalls Bronwyn. “It was like Demi knew she was Bailey’s dog and she followed him everywhere.”
Demi, a beautiful golden Labrador, is now Bailey’s constant companion. And the change in this 13-year-old has been remarkable.
Bailey has calmed down incredibly since Demi arrived. He is more settled and his daily routine is more stable. He feeds her morning and night, makes sure her water bowl is full, he walks her and even does ‘poo patrol’. To the family’s shock and joy, Bailey even helps to vacuum up the dog hair.
This new routine has worked wonders for the nervous youngster. His anxiety has decreased which has resulted in fewer outbursts. Previously, his out-of-control outbursts could last for hours, but with Demi by his side, they only last for 30 seconds.
While he struggles to relate to people, even his own family, he can relate – with uncanny sensitivity – to his beloved Companion Dog. With Demi by Bailey’s side, the family now have strategies to help manage his behaviour. If he becomes down, they will encourage him to take Demi for a walk, or bath her. Bailey, who was never able to venture outside the house on his own, now walks to the corner shop with Demi. He greets neighbours and chats with others who are walking their dogs. He’s even made a new friend.
Bailey now plays soccer, and Demi is on the sideline at every match. Bailey introduces his team mates to Demi and he is SO proud of her. She helps him bond with his peers and his growing circle of friends.
It’s not just Bailey’s social skills that have improved since Demi came into his life. This remarkable Companion Dog has also done wonders for his confidence. His life skills are improving and he can now make toast and coffee for mum and dad.
“Bronwyn and I are in grateful disbelief at the wonderful change in our family’s life. We know how much we owe to Guide Dogs WA and those who support them. Doctors couldn’t help him…but people we’ve never met changed our son’s life forever? ‘THANK YOU’ will never be enough!”