Caz and the kids have set­tled well to­gether

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - RICHARD MAYS

It took Gretchen Good and Dan Nash three years to save for an as­sis­tance dog.

A year ago Caz ar­rived, and the Palmer­ston North par­ents of Leo and Tif­fany Nash agree the spe­cially trained an­i­mal has added so much to their qual­ity of life.

Leo, 7 and Tif­fany, 5 have Down syn­drome. Both have or­thopaedic and mus­cu­lar prob­lems, while Leo is vis­ually im­paired.

‘‘She has truly be­come the beloved fifth fam­ily mem­ber in our house­hold,’’ Good said ’’She has helped us in so many ways, and is a loved, com­fort­ing pres­ence in our home.’’

Caz has a special har­ness that al­lows each child to have their own dog lead. She was the first dog trained to be teth­ered to two chil­dren at once.

‘‘They can ei­ther just hold onto it or it can be clipped onto their belt or back­pack.’’

The dog pro­vides free­dom for the chil­dren and their par­ents. When they walk to­gether as a fam­ily, the chil­dren can’t run off im­pul­sively.

‘‘They are happy to stick close to Caz. They walk fur­ther than ever before and Leo, who is legally blind, knows where he is be­cause he likes to trail right be­hind Caz’s tail.’’

With a Give A Lit­tle page givealit­tle.co.nz/cause/as­sist­dog4two, the cou­ple has raised over $16,000 of the $20,000 they need to pay to­ward the cost of rear­ing and train­ing Caz, with all do­na­tions go­ing di­rectly to As­sis­tance Dogs New Zealand.

The cost of an as­sis­tance dog is $48,000, and in eight years 30 dogs have been placed with fam­i­lies in need.

As­sis­tance Dogs ap­peal week runs un­til Satur­day 13.

WAR­WICK SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

Leo Nash, 7, and Tif­fany Nash, 5, have en­joyed the com­pany of as­sis­tance dog Caz for one year.

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