Dog ap­peal week seeks vol­un­teers

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - LISA KNIGHT

What a dif­fer­ence a dog makes.

For Leo, 6, and Tif­fany, 4, Nash a dog from As­sis­tance Dogs New Zealand (ADNZ), makes all the dif­fer­ence in the world.

Both Palmer­ston North chil­dren have Down syn­drome and Leo is vis­ually im­paired.

The pair have to be su­per­vised closely es­pe­cially as both are par­tic­u­larly good es­cape artists, say par­ents Dan Nash and Gretchen Good.

Now af­ter spend­ing three years on a wait­ing list, the chil­dren at last have Caz.

The dog has been specif­i­cally trained for Leo and Tif­fany since about 8 weeks old to be easy to con­trol and not get dis­tracted by other dogs.

ADNZ in­struc­tor Julie Han­cox says Caz was the first dog they have re­sis­tance-trained for two teth­ered chil­dren so they can’t run away.

‘‘A lot of fam­i­lies . . . are quite re­stricted in where they can go and what they can do, and the dogs re­ally help with that and with calm­ing the kids when they’re out,’’ Julie says.

The in­struc­tor has spent a week with the fam­ily help­ing them and Caz ad­just, and will keep in reg­u­lar con­tact in case any is­sues arise. Gretchen is rapt. ‘‘We think it’s been won­der­ful. Be­fore, I couldn’t take them places like the li­brary or gro­cery shop­ping by my­self be­cause they both

do run in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions, and I can now.’’

Be­cause the chil­dren can both be teth­ered to Caz, they no longer need two adults at all times.

‘‘This is the most re­ward­ing part,’’ Julie says, ‘‘get­ting to see the dog go into a fam­ily and make a dif­fer­ence.’’

Re­cip­i­ents are asked to ‘‘pay it for­ward’’ by rais­ing money to­wards the $50,000 train­ing cost for the next fam­ily.

As­sis­tance to Leo and Tif­fany’s fundrais­ing is through Give A Lit­tle https://givealit­tle.co.nz/ cause/as­sist­dog4two.

PHOTO: DAVID UNWIN/ FAIR­FAX NZ.

Tif­fany 4 and Leo Nash, 6 have Down syn­drome and af­ter a three-year wait have been for­tu­nate to get Caz, an as­sis­tance dog to help them and their par­ents Dan and Gretchen. The fam­ily is rais­ing money to help pay for Caz.

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