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 been matched with Stella the Assistance Dog, a black Labrador retriever cross who has been specially trained to help Will every day. Stella was raised as part of the Pups in Prison program, which sees detainees and staff work together to train and raise a life-changing puppy for someone in need.
“The most important thing Stella does for me is picking things up for me when I drop them, as I have a really unsteady hand” said Will.
“Before Stella’s arrival, I was really worried about being left alone, as I might drop something and have no way of reaching it (my phone for example). Having a dog that can do certain tasks for you, no matter how small, that you were never able to do before, is a really big deal, for example, taking my socks off and getting the clothes out of the washing machine.”
Stella and Will make a great team and can often be spotted out and about together.
“We go swimming together. We have gone for independent walks, without a support worker. We play fetch. She gives me a sense of companionship and gives me responsibility, as now I have something to look after.”
“My friends and family have noticed the positive influence Stella has on me and noticed that I am a lot happier with Stella.”