Gladstone mum, dad need $27K pooch for daughter
DOGS have been man's best friend since cave men started walking upright but these days they can make the difference between a good and a bad day for someone with a disability.
Specially trained service or assistance dogs can provide a watchful eye and act as a stress breaker for families who struggle to get through the pressures of providing 24-hour care.
But nothing in life is free and at $27,000, service dogs do not come cheaply.
That's why Shane Morgan and Kevina Atkinson have reached out to the community to help them provide their disabled daughter, Chilli, 7, with a new, highly intelligent pooch.
"Chilli was born with Kleefstra Syndrome ... which means she has a piece missing from her ninth chromosome," Ms Atkinson said.
"This missing chromosome has taken her main learning gene.
"She's non-verbal and can walk but gets very fatigued."
FACTS: Kleefstra Syndrome
- It is a rare genetic condition
- Chilli is one of nine people in Australia who suffer from the condition
- It affects sufferers' ability to learn, communicate and move
Kleefstra Syndrome is rare and Chilli is one of just nine people in Australia known to have the debilitating disorder.
Although it requires constant attention from full-time carers, it does not stop Chilli going to school, listening to music and playing in water.
But it is not easy providing round-the-clock care for Chilli so the family, including three-year-old son Axel, is hopeful that getting a service dog will bring a little joy to the household.
"The dog will be perfectly compatible for Chilli and trained specifically for her needs," Ms Atkinson said.
"And because Chilli has little habits the service dog will keep her safe when we are out and about. "It will also help with Chilli's meltdowns, which come from communication frustrations."
Mum and dad have a long way to go to reach the $27,000 needed to buy a service dog for their beautiful daughter.
But Ms Atkinson said $2,500 had been raised which they were very thankful for.
And there was a long list of people she wanted to thank for helping them out at the weekend during Gladstone Harbour Festival, she said.
"It's hard asking for help… but the support has just been amazing," Ms Atkinson said.
You can help Chilli by donating to the family's Go Fund Me page or calling Ms Atkinson on 0417799351