Help our canine carers
Assistance Dogs New Zealand (ADNZ) breeds, raises and trains assistance dogs for adults and children with a range of disabilities.
They include autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, developmental delay syndromes, severe anxiety, head injuries, post traumatic stress disorder and physical disabilities.
The organisation trains assistance dogs for most disabilities and multiple disabilities in adults and children.
Ninety per cent of their assistance dogs are trained to support children from age four to 17 years of age with autism spectrum disorder, or children with developmental delay syndromes with autism-like traits. Many of these children have complex needs and multiple disabilities that the assistance dogs are trained to support as part of their role.
Assistance Dogs New Zealand tailors the training of assistance dogs to meet the unique needs of the client, family and their disabilities.
For ADNZ to train and place a range of assistance dogs to meet the demand of more than 70 families on the waiting list, the group needs to breed and raise around 20 puppies a year.
The cost to raise a puppy involves dog food, veterinary care, training equipment like collars, leashes, food bowls, ID medallions and service dog jackets to allow the puppies into many public places to socialise for their future role.
ADNZ’s puppies require fortnightly visits from the puppy development supervisor to support the puppies and their puppy-raising families as they work through common puppy behavioural issues.
Puppies eat a lot, grow very quickly and outgrow collars, puppy jackets and may even need two leads ( if they chew one), as well as requiring regular observation and reporting by trained staff to ensure they are progressing well to become future assistance dogs.
As a registered charitable trust these costs impact heavily on ADNZ’s fundraising each year. It costs $ 6500 to breed and raise one puppy from eight weeks to 14 months, and the group relies heavily on the generosity of puppy sponsors to support the puppies in training.
The Gifted Puppy Sponsorship Programme is a way for kiwi families to support a cause that supports cute puppies and vulnerable kiwi kids.
For $ 5 a week or $ 20 a month, donors can improve the life of a child with a disability. The $ 20 a month can support puppies like Ruby and Ranger to become assistance dogs for an adult or child with a disability. The puppies are placed with volunteer puppy raisers from eight weeks through to 12 to 14 months of age. This is an important and vital stage for the puppies to receive basic training in a loving home while giving them the opportunity to have fun and be playful puppies too.
More importantly, the ADNZ puppies need to receive daily socialisation in a range of different situations like supermarkets, cafes, doctor’s surgeries, shopping malls, movie theatres and environments like the city, in heavy traffic and in residential areas which have other dogs and
the day- to- day distractions of everyday life.
ADNZ predominantly breeds both labradors and golden retrievers, and cross- breed these two breeds to produce the range of temperament and type to
meet the unique needs of many different disabilities and client families. Occasionally, the organisation may need to buy a labradoodle puppy if a child is allergic to dogs, but also requires an assistance dog.