Tip top dog day out for Woof and Walk

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - STAFF RE­PORTER

Long and short haired, small and big, young and old.

Dogs from around Auck­land turned up for the an­nual Woof and Walk event in sup­port of As­sis­tance Dogs New Zealand Trust.

The walk through One Tree Hill Do­main saw al­most one hun­dred four-legged friends walk through the pad­docks to raise aware­ness of the trust.

The walk was led by Isla Stythe, 7, who has a syn­drome caus­ing autism, devel­op­ment de­lay and epilepsy.

Isla led the walk with her dog Bo.

Ac­tor Ben Bar­ring­ton, Sil­ver Fern Kayla Cullen and their dogs were also at the front of the pack.

The trust’s fund­ing devel­op­ment man­ager, Wendy Isaac, says that the day aims to pro­mote re­spon­si­ble dog own­er­ship and hav­ing fun with furry com­pan­ions while also rais­ing aware­ness for the trust’s cause.

She says that the day also pro­vides an event for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties who usu­ally wouldn’t be able to at­tend some­thing like it.

‘‘It’s about hav­ing a dis­abil­i­tyfriendly event be­cause kids with autism of­ten can’t come to some­thing like this,’’ Isaac says.

As­sis­tance Dogs New Zealand’s vi­sion is to be the lead­ing as­sis­tance dog provider in New Zealand.

It’s mis­sion is to en­rich the lives of peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­ity pro­vid­ing pur­pose bred and trained as­sis­tance dogs, to meet the unique needs of each in­di­vid­ual client and fam­ily.

As­sis­tance Dogs New Zealand strives to de­liver a per­son­alised and tai­lored as­sis­tance dog ser­vice peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties.

An as­sis­tance dog is ex­pected to cost ap­prox­i­mately $48,000 in its life­time, from breed­ing and train­ing to vet and food costs.

The fam­ily the dog is go­ing to raises $20,000 of that and the or­gan­i­sa­tion raises the rest.

As­sis­tance Dogs New Zealand Trust does not re­ceive gov­ern­ment fund­ing.

Isaac says there are 36 as­sis­tance dogs cur­rently in op­er­a­tion na­tion­wide and most of the dogs are with peo­ple with autism.

‘‘A lot of the kids we work with have mul­ti­ple dis­abil­i­ties … these dogs have to be three as­sis­tance dogs in one,’’ Isaac says.

The trust pro­vides about 10 to 12 dogs per year but, with a wait­ing list of more than 50 fam­i­lies, that needs to dou­ble, Isaac says.

For more as­sis­tance­dogstrust.org.nz. see

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