I have one of the most amazing jobs in the world. I work with at risk youth to train Labrador Retrievers as companion dogs for children on the autism spectrum. Working with these kids is incredible, to know where they come from and to see how they can transform themselves and their own lives by helping others. Labs ‘n Life here in South Australia is growing and growing. We reach kids each week that people have long since given up on and we engage them. Recently though I had the privlidge of seeing the next phase of our work. I got to take Tug, one of our newest companion dogs out to see his new family for the first time. To actually be involved in this phase really helped open my eyes. I know how much our dogs change the lives of the families they are placed, but to actually see it from the start was great. I have to say Tug is pretty amazing, and that’s all thanks to the training he has had by the kids in our program. He did everything we asked of him. He anchored when the kids tried to run across the road, he chased the balls they threw, he played hide and seek and he calmed the kids. All without instruction, he just knew what he had to do. Not bad for the whirlwind of a pup that still can be found running hot laps in the backyard. He is a boistorous boy, but he is also going to need that with these kids. Life will be hard, he is certainly going to earn his keep. However Tug will also bring a whole new world to this family, they will actually be able to go out, get some sleep and even eat their meals seated at a table. All the things us parents take for granted. It certainly makes me realise how lucky I am to have two perfectly healthy children.

Tug is not on his own at the moment. At Labs ‘n Life we also have Scrooge and Tramp, who will be placed soon. Scrooge and Tug are currenly undergoing training with their new families. Each week they go out to different locations and the families are realising how so many things they thought would be impossible with their children can soon become a reality. Tramp will be placed later in the year. So these three brothers are out there making a difference. As I am involved mainly with Tug’s training and placement I will keep you updated. I will also have an annoucement soon that is going to assist these beautiful boys in being placed with their families, so watch this space. Until then spare a thought for those families who find everyday life a struggle!