A Point Cook family has received an early Christmas miracle.
Kate Smith was thrilled to receive a call recently from the Point Cook Lions club, which offered to chip in $1600 to pay the balance of the family’s therapy dog, Jethro.
Jethro came to the family six months ago via Dogs for Kids with Disabilities to be a companion for Kate’s five-year-old son Cooper, who has autism.
“It takes about $16,000 to fully train a therapy dog from puppyhood up to go out [with a family]. We were responsible for helping to fundraise 50 per cent, and that money goes straight back into the program,” Ms Smith said.
The family initially set up an online fundraiser to help out with the costs, but donations stalled with $1600 to go.
Point Cook Lions member Pamela Batie came across the online fundraiser about six months later, and reached out to the family.
“We’ll help anyone in the community, but when it’s about kids, [it’s special].”
President Tom Gilfillan added: “It took us about 30 seconds to make a decision. This is why we cook sausages and the like, so that we can do this sort of thing”.
Ms Smith said she was thrilled by the donation, and amazed at the change in Cooper since Jethro has been around.
“It was a completely random miracle,” she said. “Part of Cooper’s autism is anxiety and sensory sensitivity, so he’s really always struggled with sleep, and had slept in our room until six months ago.
“Now he sleeps independently, every single night.
“Having that animal there to love you unconditionally has been really good for him.”