Assistance and Therapy dogs help to keep children calm, build confidence and foster independence. For families, this provides much-needed relief, and enables greater freedom and support both inside and outside the home.
Our dogs don't just change a child's life, they change the lives of families and communities.
Jordy and his dog Fritzi
"Jordy’s Therapy dog Fritzi has made a huge difference in all of our lives."
“As part of a rare syndrome he lives with, Jordy has a significant sleep disorder which means he wakes up often throughout the night—and therefore we did too.
Fritzi is a calming companion who sleeps by Jordy’s side. Now, when Jordy does wake during the night, Fritzi’s presence helps him to self-settle and go back to sleep. So not only is Jordy getting more sleep, but so do the rest of the family.
This extra sleep increases Jordy’s concentration both at school and during his various therapies throughout the day. Since getting Fritzi we have seen noticeable improvements in Jordy’s learning and development.
While Fritzi and Jordy didn’t have an immediate bond, we were lucky enough to be fostering Fritzi, and they had a chance to build the bond over a few months. Slowly but surely, both Jordy and Fritzi started opening up to each other. We saw how Dogs for Kids really cared about building this connection. I never really understood how it worked until I saw it develop with my own eyes. I can’t explain the connection between them, but it’s real.
Fritzi is a life changer, for all of us.”
Dominic and his dog Bobbie
“Bobbie is my friend, she makes me happy”
“We welcomed Bobbie in 2016 and she very quickly became part of our family. She is a lovely and calm-natured dog who is a joy to be out and about with.
Dominic often struggled to have conversations without diving into an imaginary world that was very hard to keep up with, even for family members. But with Bobbie by his side, conversations with people out in the park or on the street are more about the real and present moment. He engages and stays on topic when talking about Bobbie, and this has led him to become more confident socially among his peers.
Bobbie has also helped Dominic learn to walk at a more even pace and be aware of traffic. Being in charge of feeding her and taking her for regular walks has taught him responsibility, which has further assisted his general development.
Overall, the process has been brilliant. When Dogs for Kids introduced Bobbie to Dominic, we knew the right match had been found. I think we were really lucky with how quickly they built a rapport, and how quickly we saw improvements with Dom as a result.”
Phoenix and his dog Jimmy
"Phoenix was five years old when we welcomed our Assistance dog Jimmy into the family. We were in such a hard place back then"
“Dogs for Kids recognised our position and really came to our rescue when they matched Phoenix and Jimmy. Three years on, I can say Jimmy has been worth his weight in gold.
I remember soon after they were matched, we made our first trip together to a major shopping center on a busy Saturday morning. With Phoenix tethered to Jimmy we were able to do three hours of shopping with no meltdowns and much lower anxiety levels. The whole experience was such a relief.
While Phoenix doesn’t always pay attention to Jimmy, Jimmy is always in tune to what Phoenix is up to. He is always watching Phoenix and is very much aware of when Phoenix is having a hard time. Jimmy also tolerates Phoenix’s fascination with his soft squishy nose, which has led to Phoenix showing Jimmy lots of affection and building their rapport.
Jimmy not only provides comfort and support to Phoenix, but also to myself. There is now much less stress in my life when it comes to having to go out with Phoenix. I know that Phoenix will be safe while attached to Jimmy, so we are now able to access the community more often and lead a life with much fewer meltdowns and anxiety.
Simply put, the whole process has been amazing. Our lives would not be complete without Jimmy.”
Genuinely life changing
It’s hard to imagine how life changing our dogs can be for families. Leanne shares her story of living with her son Vili, who has severe autism. Vili’s friends, family and community helped with fundraising needed to train his Assistance dog Tubby.
Our volunteer foster families are integral to our dogs fulfilling their potential as future Assistance and Therapy dogs. Whilst with their volunteer foster families Dogs for Kids covers all expenses including food, equipment and veterinary care.