Guide Dogs Blog

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A Dream Come True for Young Carer, Harvey

July 12th, 2019

Like most ten-year-old kids, Harvey LOVES dogs. But, as one of the estimated 750,000 Young Carers who support a family member living with disability, he often misses out on the experiences of other kids his age.

Harvey’s mum Jodene lives with severe osteoarthritis which can make it difficult just to get around. Jodene says she wouldn’t know what to do without her son’s help – he is thoughtful and compassionate beyond his years.

To say thanks to Harvey for all that he does, Guide Dogs SA/NT and Little Dreamers fulfilled Harvey’s dream to spend a truly PAWsome day with our puppies and dogs-in-training!

Harvey’s special ‘Dream Experience’ began by meeting Karlo, who leads our Puppy Development Centre, and the six yellow pups of the P Litter: Pippen, Pride, Pixel, Prince, Poppet and Paxton.

Karlo showed Harvey some obedience training techniques using positive reinforcement. Harvey put his new skills to work with Poppet, practising essential cues like ‘sit’ and ‘leave it’, which he reinforced with praise and a tasty treat. Harvey then took Pride for a walk on-leash through the obstacle course in our Puppy Enrichment yard.

After more cuddles and puppy playtime, Harvey met Guide Dog Mobility Instructor, Lisa, with Autism Assistance Dog-in-training Zena. The highlight of the day for Harvey was experiencing an attachment walk with Zena, while Lisa explained how our Autism Assistance Dogs are trained to enable safety and independence for young children with autism.

Of course, Harvey loved playing with puppies, but learning about Lisa’s work training dogs to support people with disability was a truly powerful moment. Harvey and his mum take great comfort in their own companion dog, a ten-month-old moodle called Penny. Now Harvey has a range of training techniques they can practise together at home!

Our thanks to Harvey for helping our puppies prepare for future careers as Guide Dogs, Autism Assistance Dogs or Therapy Dogs, and thank you to all involved in making the day so special.

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