Wests Tigers were proud to raise over $30,000 for Smart Pups Assistance Dogs as a result of its one-off jersey auction following the club's Tommy Raudonikis OAM Memorial Round last month.
Smart Pups Assistance Dogs is a non-for-profit charity organisation based on the Sunshine Coast that specialise in providing trained service dogs to assist children with special needs. A charity that was to the heart of Raudonikis, their goal is to improve the quality of life of children with special needs by training assistance dogs in task-specific skills with Wests Tigers fans helping raise considerable funds.
With the jersey auction raising over $30,000 for Smart Pups Assistance Dogs, CEO Janelle Denny said the a number of families would benefit greatly.
"The auction of the Tommy Raudonikis OAM Wests Tigers Jerseys unleashes potential," Denny said. "This donation will provide five new puppies for our training program. Each Smart Pup will be professionally trained to master a unique set of skills that will help their recipient child.
"In the first six months, training focuses on socialisation and general obedience. This includes house training, on and off-leash obedience, and environmental stability training – this will later help the child navigate through social situations like shopping malls, classrooms and outdoor parks.
"For families living with children with special needs their world can be very small and access to their community and the outside world a scary challenge, and for some a nightmare. Each of our clients are testimonial confirming that a key benefit of a Smart Pups Assistance Dog is that they can now safely access to their community without the usual limitations, fears and anxiety.
"Smart Pups receive no Government funding and rely wholly on donations, grants and the generosity of the public to enable us to raise, train and place these life changing Assistance Dogs.
"The auction of the Tommy Raudonikis OAM Wests Tigers Jerseys will enable us to purchase five specially breed Labrador and Golden Retriever puppies for the training program and cover the cost of their care during training. These puppies will go on to become an integral part of the life of a child with a diagnosed special need such as autism, seizure, mobility and diabetes related syndromes, these dogs not only change the life of the child but their families and the community as well."
Wests Tigers would like to thank who all who made a contribution to Smart Pups Assistance Dogs through the Tommy Raudonikis OAM jersey auction.