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Baby Dragon

Wine, Cheese And Art Help Colac Youngster

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Colac and district people can sample the district’s wine, cheese and art while helping Colac’s Matthew Houtsma obtain a special dog to help him live with autism.

Matthew, 6, and his family need to raise $29,000 before he receives a trained assistance dog which

will protect him, be his companion and help his anxiety.

Matthew’s mother Rachael Houtsma and her sister Lorry Phillips have organised an art exhibition with wine and cheese tasting at Colac’s Civic Hall on February 26.

“We’ll have wine from Otway Estate and cheese from National Foods,” Mrs Houtsma said.

“We’ve invited a lot of prominent people in Colac,” she said.

“We’re hoping to sell 100 or more tickets and to raise between $4000 and $5000.”

Mrs Houtsma said the night would include a silent auction and hopefully live music.

“We’d like to thank the people who’ve sponsored us for the night so far,” she said.

There will be paintings on display and for sale by artists from Colac, Winchelsea, Geelong and Warrnambool.

Mrs Houtsma said Matthew was getting used to the idea of owning a dog.

“We’ve been talking about it a lot,” she said.

“Six months ago, if you said we were getting a dog he would have had a fit but he’s come a long way.”

Mrs Houtsma said the Colac community continued to amaze her with its generosity.

“I’m just blown away,” she said.

“I never expected quite this kind of support.”

Mrs Houtsma said people had been more understanding of Matthew’s condition since her family appeared

in The Colac Herald last year.

“People have been really quite supportive,” she said.

“When Matthew has a tantrum in public, people seem to have a look of understanding on their face.”

The Houtsmas are also planning a movie fundraiser for next month.

Tickets for the art, wine and cheese night are available at the Colac Otway Performing Arts and Cultural Centre box office.

SAY CHEESE: Matthew and Rachael Houtsma are preparing for an art, wine and cheese night in Colac.

http://colacherald.com/2010/02/03/wine-che...olac-youngster/

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seems pretty pricey to me . . . especially given that, so far as I'm aware, there's no accredited training program for dog trainers to teach dogs to deal with autism. Rather hard to predict outcomes.

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Good luck to them :thumbsup:

Sandgrubber, there are plenty of documented cases of assistance animals being of great help to autistic children. I dont understand why so many people on DOL are against the use of assistance dogs. Lets hope this thread doesnt turn into an assistance dog bashing thread like so many others have. :thumbsup:

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Good luck to them :thumbsup:

Sandgrubber, there are plenty of documented cases of assistance animals being of great help to autistic children. I dont understand why so many people on DOL are against the use of assistance dogs. Lets hope this thread doesnt turn into an assistance dog bashing thread like so many others have. :thumbsup:

I don't recall anyone being "anti-assistance dogs" per se. I'm certainly anti people calling their untrained pet an "assistance dog" to allow them to take it places other pet dogs can't go.

I recall A Current Affair sticking the boot into a school for not allowing a child to take his "assistance dog" to classes. Dog was a JRT, no special training and "assisted" the child by making him feel better about himself. So do most family pets.

An accredited assistance dog is an entirely different kettle of fish.

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Guest Pandii   
Guest Pandii

I hope he gets his dog, they do great work and anything to help an autistic child live day to day has my support

My boy has Sebbi a shar pei and while not an assistance dog he helps my sone with difficult situations and makes life better for him

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Good luck to them :D

Sandgrubber, there are plenty of documented cases of assistance animals being of great help to autistic children. I dont understand why so many people on DOL are against the use of assistance dogs. Lets hope this thread doesnt turn into an assistance dog bashing thread like so many others have. :D

I'm not at all against assistance animals for autistic children. What I don't understand is the training, and what, given that different individuals with autism have quite different needs. It's not like a guide dog . . . who helps with things that need sight and provide companionship. . . and needs a high level of specialised training. As I understand it, the assistance dog to an autistic child may help with development of basic emotional skills and be a calming influence to a child with erratic temper . . . many dogs seem to fit this role with fairly basic training and management . . . nothing like $30k worth. I have talked to people with autistic kids who say they did a lot of screening to find an appropriate rescue dog, or got a Lab . . . because they couldn't afford the specialised training . . . but the dog did great without it. I am happy to be corrected if I'm wrong here, and would be quite interested to know what sort of training they give a dog that is to be an assistance dog for an autistic child. Or perhaps the child in question had some form of autism that meant the assistance dog was needed to do the sort of things that a guide dog does.

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Okami   

$29,000!!! holy hell.. but that's a lot of money!

Truly I hope they are able to raise the money and the dog is everything they hope it will be....

I understand a family wanting to any and everything they can to help their child....

I wonder if they are able to get a tax rebate or something though.... because $29,000.....

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Good luck to them :eek:

Sandgrubber, there are plenty of documented cases of assistance animals being of great help to autistic children. I dont understand why so many people on DOL are against the use of assistance dogs. Lets hope this thread doesnt turn into an assistance dog bashing thread like so many others have. :eek:

I don't recall anyone being "anti-assistance dogs" per se. I'm certainly anti people calling their untrained pet an "assistance dog" to allow them to take it places other pet dogs can't go.

That's because you don't have access to off-topic :cry:

Edited because Mr Winky came out wrong

Edited by BittyMooPeeb

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Erny   
$29,000!!! holy hell.. but that's a lot of money!

Not sure what training regime/protocol Righteous Pups have (ie are they like Assistance Dogs Australia who train the dog up and then pair the dog to the person?) but I can see where $29,000.00 would easily go. Take into account dog's food, vet care, insurance, housing costs and THEN take into account the hours on hours of training the dog receives before it is homed to a person needing and qualifying for an assistance dog.

Think about your own (or the average) yearly wage and work out what percentage $29,000.00 represents, without forgetting how much of that $29,000.00 is not nett but would be taken up by out of pocket expenses.

True, though. Assistance dogs who require specialised training do cost a lot for one person to pay out for. But it's not a lot of money in terms of time/out-lay. They are worth their weight in gold, though, IMO. I love seeing assistance dogs with their 'people'. There is a very special bond that forms between them that doesn't as often occur between dogs and able-bodied/minded people.

Edited by Erny

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I don't think people bash assistance dogs. I do think that some people abuse the label of assistance dog to allow them to take their dgs places where others can't.

But that is something that needs to be addressed at a legislative level I guess?

$29,000 for a dog? I thought most of these orgs were not for profit? I think charging someone that amount of money for an assistance dog is obscene.

It may work out that is costs that much to train the dog, but it flys in the face of what assistance dogs are - does that make sense?

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Erny   
$29,000 for a dog? I thought most of these orgs were not for profit?

A "not for profit" (if that's what they are) doesn't mean people don't get paid for the work they do though, WP, does it? If that were the case it would be might hard to find people who would be able to do the job required, as they themselves need to work to put food on their own tables. Aren't assistance dogs in training for something like 2 years?

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$29,000 for a dog? I thought most of these orgs were not for profit?

A "not for profit" (if that's what they are) doesn't mean people don't get paid for the work they do though, WP, does it? If that were the case it would be might hard to find people who would be able to do the job required, as they themselves need to work to put food on their own tables. Aren't assistance dogs in training for something like 2 years?

Yes - you are right. I guess I live in a bubble and never realised people paid for these dogs

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Some organisations charge, some have the recipient agree to fundraise a certain amount, and some give the dog to the recipient for free. I suppose it all depends on how the organisation is run, how many staff they have, if they're paid staff or volunteers, how much the dogs they get cost or if they're donated, etc.

I was fortunate enough to be given my assistance dog for free. But that still means that somebody had to pay for it somewhere. My organisation spends time doing a lot of fundraising, they have businesses that sponsor them and all the staff are volunteers.

Edited by Baby Dragon

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$29,000!!! holy hell.. but that's a lot of money!

Not sure what training regime/protocol Righteous Pups have (ie are they like Assistance Dogs Australia who train the dog up and then pair the dog to the person?) but I can see where $29,000.00 would easily go. Take into account dog's food, vet care, insurance, housing costs and THEN take into account the hours on hours of training the dog receives before it is homed to a person needing and qualifying for an assistance dog.

Think about your own (or the average) yearly wage and work out what percentage $29,000.00 represents, without forgetting how much of that $29,000.00 is not nett but would be taken up by out of pocket expenses.

True, though. Assistance dogs who require specialised training do cost a lot for one person to pay out for. But it's not a lot of money in terms of time/out-lay. They are worth their weight in gold, though, IMO. I love seeing assistance dogs with their 'people'. There is a very special bond that forms between them that doesn't as often occur between dogs and able-bodied/minded people.

I also love seeing assistance dogs . . . and would like to see more of them. As a Lab breeder I get occasional calls from people with austic kids who are DIY'ing it because the certified assistance dogs are so expensive and the waiting lists too long. I wish there were a more affordable way to do the training . . . especially for people whose kids have milder forms of autism and could use guidance but don't require a major investment in training.

I'm not arguing and don't mean to be rude . . . I just don't understand the price tag. A quality Labrador pup is going to cost less than $2000. Keeping a pup for a year costs me around $1000, call it $2000. . . . though many assistance dogs are raised by volunteer families, so rearing costs are reduced. If the pups are put in service at one year, that still leaves $25k for training. I would think a trainer working full time could train more than four dogs a year. That comes out to a pretty good salary . . . quite a bit more than I earned as a Uni Lecturer. Maybe that's naive. Most of us aren't good at seeing the holes in our own reasoning.

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I don't know anything about RP, but with the organisation I'm with I know that these are some of the things they do and the costs:

Evaluating pup, purchasing pup, vaccinations, desexing, regular vet checks (sometimes x-rays), feeding, collars, leashes, bowls, vests, bedding, crates, training tools, building and grounds maintanance, uniforms, ID cards, fuel costs to travel to different places to train the dogs, insurance, phone calls, internet costs, computer, electricity, bathing and grooming. They also sit on state committees and things and have to travel there, pay for accommodation etc. Raising and training the pups until they are around 16 - 24 months old.

They give support to recipients for the lifetime of the dog either in person, via phone or email. They do testing and team training with every recipient. I was also surprised at how many vet checks and clearances and things my dog had had by the time I got her because they gave me her full vet history.

And I'm sure there's a lot more, but they are just some of the things I've seen.

Edited by Baby Dragon

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