Your supPAWt makes a difference! Assistance Dogs give kids living with disability:
Dogs are trained to be tethered alongside kids with autism and sensory disorders. The dogs sit or lie down to anchor them, allowing safe visits near roads and other public areas and getting kids out and about in the community and taking part in day to day activities.
Dogs provide companionship and a best friend for kids living with anxiety and other disorders. The dogs reassuring presence grows kids confidence to interact with their peers and form strong social connections, often for the very first time.
Dogs can detect an oncoming anxiety attack in kids and intervene by nudging, applying contact pressure or licking to induce calm. These special dogs can even retrieve a parent or carer to provide assistance to their child.
...And Save Lives
Specially trained seizure alert dogs save lives. These highly trained animals can place their bodies next to a child having a seizure to prevent injury, remain with the child as a support and, most importantly, activate an alarm to alert parents and carers that a seizure is taking place.
Introducing Jett and Milo
"I don’t think I can express enough in words how grateful we are to Variety Petember participants and donors.
Autism can be very isolating for a child and their family and looks and feels different for each and every one. Your kindness during a very strange period in our world sends a beautiful message of caring to include everyone in our community and will change our lives!
For Jett and our family, welcoming an assistance dog into our world is life-changing. Autism presents differently for every person with a diagnosis. Because Jett is verbal, happy and academically does well, many people question his diagnosis. Although his abilities mean he can access things in the community, this can also create more challenges as he sometimes does not receive the support that he requires. This creates anxiety, confusion, and sensory overstimulation for him and in turn the rest of our family as we struggle to support him at home when his anxieties and confusion manifest.
Milo provides a constant for us and our family - offering sensory support and friendship for Jett and his younger brother.
We are most looking forward to the calm companionship Milo will give and the support and friendship he will provide Jett at home which can then be beneficial at school, swimming lessons and the playground.
It’s hard to describe just how intelligent and well trained an assistance dog is and the impact they have. Just as every person and family is different, so too is a person and family who have an Autism diagnosis. An assistance dog is selected and chosen especially for that family to suit their needs and challenges. For us Milo will lower that base level of anxiety that stems from Jett’s sensory overstimulation, misinterpreting social cues and rigid thinking.
In our time with Milo, it has been beautiful to observe the subtle things that he supports Jett with. Patting and stroking Milo helps Jett to self-regulate his emotions and Milo lying in his lap, providing deep pressure, slows Jett down and lowers his anxiety levels.
The immediate visual feedback that Milo is able to give to Jett (that humans can show in very confusing ways) has enabled Jett to start making the links between social cues. “He’s wagging his tail because he’s happy you are playing with him” for example.
Having Milo will enable us to emotionally coach Jett with support from his psychologist so that Jett can apply these learnings to his peers and be able to access the wider community. All very “real” experiences that will help Jett at school, home and life.
Now Jett will be able to go out and leave the house calmly and safely!
Thank you so much for everything you’ve done."
Jett's Mum, Katie
Lilah is 8 and excitedly awaiting her Variety Assistance Dog that you helped fundraise for through Variety Petember.
Besides being 8 years old, Lilah is a big sister, loves animals and lives with a range of conditions that mean day-to-day tasks can be very challenging.
Lilah is also non-verbal, which means she finds it hard to fully share her needs and emotions. Understandably this leaves her frustrated and distressed at times, and can manifest in numerous daily meltdowns, which is upsetting for the whole family. Lilah also struggles to understand safety and danger, meaning leaving the house is often too hard. At home, Lilah needs constant one on one supervision to keep her safe and supported. Especially demanding when Lilah also has two younger siblings.
Life is looking better thanks to your support.
The funds you helped raise through Petember are a game-changer for Lilah and her family as they will fund an Assistance Dog.
Excitingly, the Assistance Dog is in the final stages of training, and will soon join Lilah and her family. This awesome dog will be trained to recognise Lilah’s needs and emotions (often before the humans in her life do), calm her when she is feeling distressed, keep her safe in public places and near roads and disrupt unhelpful behaviours through companionship and deep pressure stimulation.
Her new best pawed friend will also help Lilah sleep independently, keep her relaxed outside the family home and help build her communication skills.
We can’t wait to share Lilah’s progress in the new year. Once again, THANK YOU for your incredible support and KINDNESS. Together, we help make changing lives for children possible.
Support Variety Assistance Dogs
Demand for Assistance Dogs is at an all-time high. If you'd like to continue to support kids in need of assistance dogs throughout the year, you can donate directly below. Thank you so much.