THE family of a Strathdale boy with autism, dyspraxia and an intellectual disability are trying to raise $29,000 so a specially-trained assistance dog can change his life.
Melissa Ford said Righteous Pups Australia had offered her son James an assistance dog to help him cope with life.
She said James, 6, had poor communication skills, found social friendships confusing and suffered high anxiety.
‘’James is a bit of a hider, so when he hides he doesn’t like to be found and we have lost him a few times which is pretty scary. And he has meltdowns,’’ Ms Ford said.
‘’The dog will become James’ buddy, a friend. James will be going to school next year and the dog will go with him – help him make friends.’’
Ms Ford said Righteous Pups had offered to cover the $29,000 to train the assistance dog but the family was determined to raise funds to help the organisation.
Bendigo Animal Hospital has supported James' cause.
Practice manager Jamie Tuohey said owner John Brown wanted to help James after hearing of his plight.
‘’We collect $1 from every vaccination and put that dollar back into the community. It’s an ongoing thing we have adopted to put something back into the community,’’ Ms Tuohey said.
‘’We are going to make a $500 donation from the fund but we’ve also offered to cover routine pet health care for the life of the dog for the family.’’
Ms Tuohey said the hospital would also clip the nails of any dog or cat if the customer donated $5 to James.
Ms Ford said she was shocked when the hospital called to say what they were doing for James.
‘’I was pretty stoked. We have to raise $29,000, so far we’ve got about three,’’ she said.
Ms Ford said the family would hold a trivia night and auction at the Strathdale Community Centre from 7pm on October 19 with a $25 ticket including supper. No BYO alcohol.
Ms Ford said people wanting to help James, donate auction items or buy tickets could call her on 0417 689 703 or visit the McIvor 165 Café.