An Altona Meadows mother is pleading for help to get a Smart Pup out of Queensland for her young son who has autism.
Amelia Baird, a single mother with four children on the spectrum, said her family and friends spent a year raising $20,000 to get the puppy for eight-year-old Carter.
There followed an 18-month wait as the Smart Pups charity trained the dog to assist with Carter’s specific needs.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the dog would have been brought to Victoria with a trainer to teach Ms Baird how to issue commands.
Now, the family must obtain an exemption from Queensland Health to enter the state, complete placement and bring the dog to Melbourne.
A GoFundMe page has been established to help Ms Baird raise $10,000 for flights and quarantine accommodation.
Ms Baird said Carter, who is grade 2 at Western Autistic School, desperately needed his dog.
“For us, it’s to help if Carter goes wandering because he’s a runner,“ she said.
“He’ll just decide to take off and disappear on us and we actually live really close to Skeleton Creek so it’s terrifying, the thought of him just going straight for the creek, because he loves water.
“So, the dog would be able to find him if desperate.
“Also, we’d be able to go the supermarket, which we can’t do with Carter as he freaks out about the noises and runs off, whereas the dog can be harnessed to Carter and can help him calm down and sort of make him be a little bit more independent.
“The dog will also help with his anxiety levels, which are through the roof, so we desperately need him right now.“
Ms Baird said she hated to ask for help but quarantine accommodation alone would cost $5000.
“It’s horrible putting other people in a situation to help but we’re out of options at the moment.“
The dog will be ready for collection in November.
To donate, visit the GoFundMe campaign titled ‘Please help unite Carter and his Smart Pup’ at gf.me/u/yu2422.