LIFE-CHANGER: Seven-year-old autistic girl Jade and her mother Mel are struggling to raise money for a Smart Pup. After two years on a waiting list, they have been told one will be available in August.
LIFE-CHANGER: Seven-year-old autistic girl Jade and her mother Mel are struggling to raise money for a Smart Pup. After two years on a waiting list, they have been told one will be available in August. Brett Wortman

More than puppy love for Jade

IT'S the $15,000 hug young Jade cannot wait to give.

The seven-year-old is eagerly awaiting the arrival of an autism assistance dog from Sunshine Coast-based organisation Smart Pups.

Jade was diagnosed with severe autism when she was two. She also has sensory processing disorder and severe anxiety.

Jade's mother and full-time carer Mel received word back in October that Jade's specially trained dog would be ready in August after two years on the waiting list.

Now, all they need to do is raise $15,000 to pay for the dog.

They have managed only $1700 in the past two months.

"I know that Jade's smart pup will be life-changing for her," Mel said.

"She has an incredible connection with animals and they can provide her with support when no human can."

Smart Pups are task-specific assistance dogs trained to improve the quality of life for children with autism and seizure-related syndromes.

Autism assistance dogs can dramatically enhance the quality of life for an autistic child.

"It will make a difference between having a child that's angry and unable to participate in activities and a child that can be calm, relaxed and able to engage," Mel said.

The role of a child's dog is to be there to guide them through their daily routine, to keep them safe and to comfort them when the world just gets too much.

Jade's already excited about her future furry friend.

"She tells everyone she meets she needs money for a Smart Pup," Mel said.

"The puppy will have to be trained to handle a lot of cuddles and kisses."

To make a donation, go to gofundme.com/smartpupforjade.



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