The Gift Trust, through the generosity of a donor, have supported Assistance Dogs New Zealand for three years. Over this time, The Gift Trust have made made donations totalling $60,000 to support families in need of an assistance dog.
Assistance Dogs was founded in 2008 by Julie and Rick Hancox after Julie saw the need for assistance dogs for people with various disabilities that could not currently receive access to service dogs. There was nowhere for people with disabilities such as Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and Diabetes to go to obtain a dog to assist with their disability.
After being introduced to families bringing in dogs from the US to assist their children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Julie took on the challenge of creating an organisation in New Zealand to cater for this gap of service in our community.
Julie formulated her own dog training programme and Assistance Dogs now services 37 clients across NZ with a waiting list that is continuously growing beyond the capabilities of this unique and successful charitable organisation.
The Assistance Dogs team continue to offer professional training and dog assessment programs and a consistently high placement success rate.
How an assistance dog can make a positive difference to a family - Meet Cheyenne and King
Story below taken from Assistance Dogs NZ Trust website, submitted by Lisa Bailey.
"King has changed our lives and we are much richer for having him help us as a family and take wonderful care of Cheyenne when we are out in public."
Lisa Bailey, Cheyennes mum.
"Cheyenne my son has Autism and is 11 years old. He was an absconder and a runner. He went 5km away from home and it was the most trying time of our lives.
We are truly blessed to have an assistance dog, King, to help Cheyenne firstly to be an anchor when tethered together so Cheyenne cannot run away. Cheyenne has come so far now that he can independently walk King in the supermarkets and out on the streets with my guidance.
King has brought so much calmness, love and happiness to our home.
Assistance Dogs do such an amazing job with training these wonderful dogs to help make our lives easier as its such a challenge on a day to day basis".
To read more from families and how an assistance dog has supported them, click here to read more.