Real life stories

Caleb and Holly’s story

    Caleb is an eight year old boy living with autism. He faces daily challenges and difficulties most of us will never have to deal with. The youngest of three children, Caleb’s meltdowns were testing the family unit and their ability to cope....

Kaleb and Ganan’s story

Kaleb is a 15 year old young man living with Autism. His family felt they were running out of options to improve their son’s future. Then along came Ganan… Kaleb’s family were the sole Puppy Educators of Ganan as a young pup. Kaleb’s mum Emma...

Rachel and Radar’s story

Since birth, Rachel has lived with cerebral palsy and spastic quadriplegia. At the age of 40, she lives in a Jewish community share house in Melbourne together with other people with a disability. Rachel is extremely popular among her fellow...

Scott and Rosco’s story

In 2003, a diving accident resulted in Scott, a strong, active man, having to face a very different future than the one he had imagined for himself. Now an incomplete quadriplegic, Scott’s life became one of hospital appointments and dependence on...

Andrew and Benji’s story

Like many people living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Andrew was a man struggling with everyday life. He served in the military for 15 years, twice in East Timor — until PTSD mental health issues forced him to retire. Simple daily...

Graham and Greta’s story

Greta is a chocolate Labrador who is rewriting the narrative for Graham Permezel. No longer is he seen as a man with dementia but as a man with a dog, albeit an extremely special one. In 2015, Hammond Care Dementia Centre and Assistance Dogs...

Berry Street School and Phoebe’s story

Berry Street School in Ballarat, Victoria is a very special place. It’s where children who have experienced severe trauma in their young lives can go to heal. At the school, they are shown what they can achieve. They are made to feel loved and...

Rook and Turbo’s story

Life has well and truly changed for seven year old Rook who has Autism. These days, he is showing more confidence. Rook’s dad Adam says, “Rook is opening up and talking to people he never would have before. He loves telling anyone who will listen,...

Jarrah and Woody’s story

Six months ago, Woody entered the life of 12 year old Jarrah, a young man with autism, and things just haven’t been the same since. When Jarrah becomes upset about something such as needing to go to the toilet or losing a possession, he goes into...

Kalinda School and Echo’s story

Echo the Educational Support Dog spends her days working at school, and evenings and weekends with Principal Belinda Wallace. She is a much-loved part of Kalinda Support School, a school in Griffith, NSW, for children with a wide range of...

Ethan and Bella’s story

Ethan is an affectionate, sensitive and fun-loving little 5 year old boy. However, he can sometimes become anxious, especially with new and busy public environments. When Ethan is anxious or uncertain, he might cry, cover his ears, or freeze on the...

Karen and Brandy’s story

Brandy is Karen’s second dog from Assistance Dogs Australia. Before Brandy, Gypsy the Assistance Dog lived and worked with Karen for 8 years. Gypsy is now enjoying retirement with Karen’s sister, and is spending her time relaxing at home or playing...

Megan and Kelly’s story

In 2014, 23 year old Megan recieved a little bundle of black fur, her future Autism Assistance Dog Kelly. As part of a new initiative from Assistance Dogs Australia, Megan was to raise Kelly for the first 12 months of her life, as any volunteer...

Christian and Rufus’ story

After attending a PAWS workshop, mum Carolyne was excited about the possibility of getting an Autism Assistance Dog for her son Christian. She hoped an Assistance Dog would be a loyal friend to Christian, that could help keep him safe. For staff at...

Colin and Phoenix’s story

Having opened up her heart and her home to over 75 foster children, Kaye is no stranger to welcoming newcomers. The newest addition to her home is Phoenix, a four-legged family member from Assistance Dogs Australia. Phoenix is an Autism Assistance...

Justus and Coodanup College

Starting a new school can be a nerve-wracking time, particularly when you are a student with learning difficulties, autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But when you have a four-legged friend in the classroom to greet you with...

Leah and Lauchie’s story

After attending a PAWS (Parents Autism Workshop and Support) class with Assistance Dogs Australia, mum Angela immediately applied for an Assistance Dog for her daughter Leah. Angela could see the benefits that having a specially trained Assistance...

Rolf and Jiyu’s story

Jiyu, the second ever Assistance Dog for Dementia in Australia. Jiyu the black labrador has been matched with Rolf and Vyrna in Melbourne. We asked Vyrna how things are going with their new four-legged family member, and here's what she said. "Since...

Nursery Road School and Wicket’s story

Wicket is a two year old black Labrador who spends his days in Nursery Road State School near Brisbane. With up to 135 students with a wide range of physical and developmental disabilities, Wicket has a big job to do. As an Educational Support Dog,...

Rob and Jimmy’s story

Jimmy is the newest staff member to join the ranks in the Victorian police force. A two year old golden Labrador with endless energy and a wagging tail, Jimmy has been matched with Rob, and joins him at work every day. As a father of three living...

John and Nina’s story

Nina is the first Dementia Assistance Dog to be placed in Australia by Assistance Dogs Australia, as part of a new program with HammondCare. Joining John and Barbara in their home in Victoria, Barbara tells us how Nina has had a positive impact on...

Will and Stella’s story

“Stella gives me a sense of independence that I have never really had before.” Will is 25 and lives in the Sunshine Coast. He has cerebral palsy, with loss of movement in both legs and difficulty stretching his left arm and hand. He has recently...

Madison and Dollarmite’s story

When asked about her new best friend Dollarmite, 18 year old Madison was more than happy to tell us about her. Dollarmite is Madison’s Assistance Dog, who helps Madison every single day. Madison has cerebral palsy and congenital heart defect. "She...

Floyd and Burleigh Heads State School

Floyd the Educational Support Dog is the talk of the town at Burleigh Heads, and has certainly made an impression on the children and staff at Burleigh Heads State School. Floyd spends 2 to 3 days a week in the Early Childhood Development Program,...

Lake Illawarra High School and Benson’s story

Martin Moore, Head Teacher of the Support Unit at Lake Illawarra High School applied for an Educational Support Dog in 2012. He is so pleased with how Benson is doing at the school. ''[He is] positive in many ways, helping students to socialise, to...

Stephane and Veo’s story

After serving in the armed forces for 18 years, both at home and abroad, Stephane was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). After being matched with Veo, Stephane has told us how his life has changed, and continues to change each day...

May and Cossie’s story

  Cossie is a very special boy, not only is he loads of personality squeezed into the perfect little cuddly Jack Russell cross Cattle Dog package; he is the first rescue dog to be placed by Assistance Dogs Australia. Cossie is the pint sized...

Michael and Fizz’s story

  Michael was always an active person.  A professional triathlete he was always on the move.  Tragically in 2008 Michael was involved in a traffic accident on a bike training ride in Melbourne. He was clipped by a passing truck and careered into the...

Natasha and Biscuit’s story

  Natasha from Tasmania, has Cerebral Palsy, spastic diplegia and was matched with Biscuit in September 2014. Natasha says,"'If I had to sum up the difference Biscuit has made to my life using just one word, it would be opportunity!" "Biscuit has...

Daniel and Nellie’s story

  Nineteen year old Daniel suffers from spinal muscular atrophy type 2, restricting him to a wheelchair and greatly reducing his independence and mobility. Now he has a new lady in his life - a beautiful Labrador called Nellie. Daniel and Nellie...

Alexis and Opal’s story

  "Opal means hope and life to me!” beams Alexis. Opal is a Service Dog, provided for Alexis free of charge by Assistance Dogs Australia. This very special dog has an important role to play in the life of wheelchair user Alexis Smith of Mount...

Kathy and Vero’s story

  Assistance Dogs Australia’s newest service dog, Vero, has been making paw prints on the hearts of those in the Winston Hills community. But the deepest mark he’s made, in on the heart of his new recipient Kathy Walden. While his amazing coat and...

Matthew and Bronte’s story

  Assistance Dogs Australia’s Service Dog Bronte has helped Matt of Adelaide reach a new chapter in his life, one filled with freedom and independence. Bronte helps Matt with everyday tasks that he finds difficult to achieve. She can pick up all...

Peter and Phoebe’s story

  West Australian Peter Darch’s service dog, Phoebe, has a heart to match her coat of gold, providing him with freedom and more independence. “I do a lot more since she’s [Phoebe’s] been around. She loves the warm weather and going on long walks… We...

Finn and Laura’s story

When Laura walked into Finn Riley’s world and heart she changed his world forever. Alison, Finn’s mum, said that the family was very excited that Laura was joining them.  ‘Laura has fallen right into our family,’ said Alison. ‘Finn loves Laura. ...

Tanya and Kuro’s story

  A few months ago, Tanya didn’t believe in love at first sight. But all that changed when she first met her tall, dark and handsome man, Kuro. “His [Kuro’s] coat was immaculate and his eyes so bright... absolutely beautiful”, Tanya said. But her...

Abby and Jemima’s story

  Eleven year old Abby has the best friend ever - an Assistance Dog named Jemima who has quickly became one of the family. “She’s my furry sister,” said Abby. Abby has ataxia, low muscle tone and developmental delay which means she needs to use a...

Tim and Roxy’s story

  Roxy helps Tim with everyday tasks that he can find difficult if not impossible to achieve, such as picking up all sorts of dropped items, like his mobile phone or his keys, she opens and closes doors, presses the button at the traffic lights and...

Nathan and Ruby’s story

She helps him get dressed, she takes him to school, she opens and closes doors, but probably the most wonderful thing that Ruby, Nathan’s Companion Dog provides him with, is independence. Nathan has quadraplegia and cerebral palsy. “Before Ruby came...

Amanda and Tiggy’s story

  Assistance Dogs Australia’s Service Dog Tiggy and his recipient Amanda McKenzie from Wagga Wagga definitely got off on the right paw. “I like to call Tiggy my time and energy saver, because simple everyday tasks that I find difficult or impossible...

Each Assistance Dog costs over $35,000 to train

This includes everything from purchasing a puppy to food, vaccinations, training and placement. Assistance Dogs are provided free of charge to people in need.

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