A new female Labrador, Radar (pictured), will soon Assistance Dogs Australia’s troop of specially-trained dogs, helping to provide aid to people in need, with thanks to the support of The Advantage Family, which provided sponsorship to cover the cost of the dog’s two-year training. During this period, Radar will learn how to provide specialised support to Australians in need by performing tasks including the opening and closing of doors, retrieving dropped items, removing items of clothing from washing machines and paying cashiers at stores.
Richard Lord, the chief executive officer of Assistance Dogs Australia, said that the cost of training an assistance dog is close to $30,000, which includes its food, veterinary treatments, placement and follow-up care for the next eight to ten years of the dog’s working life. What’s more is that Assistance Dogs Australia currently operates without government funding, relying instead on the corporate sponsorship such as that by The Advantage Family.
Established in 1996, the organisation places the trained canines in homes free of charge, and trains two types of dogs: those for service and those for support. The former is placed with adults with physical disabilities and young people with autism, and are trained to respond to up to 50 specialised commands. Support dogs, on the other hand, provide therapy support to special needs schools, aged-care facilities and children’s hospices.