I would like to write about the difference having an assistance dog has made to my life. I met Che Forest and saw what he was doing with A.W.A.R.E. in regard to placing animals with people to help enrich their lives. Not really understanding what an impact it would have to me personally, I agreed to foster a dog, with no intention of permanency, as I did not really want the responsibility of a full time animal and I had cats which I thought would be a problem. I didn't feel confident that I would be able to train and maintain a dog, and I did not socialize much, spending most of my time at home, so having to be out and about with a dog and having to spend time with people learning to look after the dog was also a great fear for me.
Che chose a dog, Tara, who seemed to fit in with the whole family, my partner Tim, my sons, Joel and Caleb and the cats. It soon became clear to me that Tara and I had an amazing bond and the love I received from her was incredible. Che helped me to overcome my fears and taught me how to understand Tara, keep her happy and with his help, our training was easy, his methods were logical and they worked! Everyone was happy.
Due to Che's training program, and the confidence it gave us all, the family decided to take on the addition of another fostered dog, which also fitted hand in glove with the family. After a period of time spent with Che and other dog and people partnerships he has created, I realize he has an almost uncanny ability to help put together people and dogs.
The support group of other MHAD users getting together, whether for coffee or outings has provided for me new and interesting social encounters I otherwise would definitely not have experienced, including visits to day centers for children to see and have contact with the dogs, schools and social events to enable the wider community to experience the world of assistance animals. The joy the dogs bring to people of all walks of life is an emotionally fulfilling experience for me and indeed the whole family, who all take part in varied events.
Having Tara has been the most amazing thing to have happened to me. She has given me so much and enabled me to lead a more enriched life and to think I nearly didn't have her because of fear, now I couldn't be without her!
I am forever grateful to Che Forest and his A.W.A.R.E. dogs program for the changes he has helped me make to my life.
We have many heartfelt stories and we would like to share some of them with you.