Four legged ‘Hero’ will change nine-year-old Cerebral Palsy sufferer’s life

Date: OCT 18th, 2006

Topic: Franchise News And Advice

When Liam Siltala was born nine years ago, his mum Sonja and dad Troy were overjoyed at welcoming their first son into the world.

However, only two weeks later they received devastating news. Liam was diagnosed with the genesis of the corpus callasum Cerebral Palsy, which was to change all their lives.

It's been a long, difficult journey for Liam, who attends Woody Point Special School at Redcliffe in Queensland and says," I feel like I should be able to do everything my little brother Kyle who is six, can do and what other boys my age can do, but my body lets me down. I am in a wheel chair full time and have difficulty speaking."

But recently he received some news that has the potential to change his life - through the assistance of Dog Trainers Craig and Tracey Murray of the Gold Coast, Variety Club and Aussie Pooch Mobile, Liam is in line to receive a trained assistance dog.

"I was so excited when specialist dog trainers, Craig and Tracey bought along Tom, a trained assistance dog, to our home and showed us what sort of things I could have a dog trained do. Best of all I was able to meet Hero, a nine-week-old assistance puppy. Hero could be mine.

"Having an assistance dog will help me become more confident and build my independence. It will help me make friends and needing to talk to the dog will encourage my speech. It will help my mum and dad because the dog will be able to help dress me, get me things and even turn the lights of and on. If I was to need help the dog will even go and get Mum or Dad. It will even come to school with me. After meeting Hero and seeing what an assistance dog can do my principle Bruce Hartshorn and teachers at my school would love to welcome one as my assistant."

Hero will take about eight months to train and Craig and Tracey will help Liam and his family with that training. They will also visit Liam's home, school and provide assistance, if needed, with maintenance, training and ongoing support. The majority of this is included in the cost for the assistance dog.

"Chris Taylor and David McNamara from Aussie Pooch Mobile Hydrobath service were also there when I met Tom and Hero. They have a company that washes and cares for people's dogs all over the world. They want to help raise funds for an assistance dog for me. As well as provide free hydrobathing and grooming every month. This will be great because Hero will be flea free and smell good so he can be inside with me, and even on my bed, when mums not looking!"

"Mum and dad look after my brother and I really well and they love us very much. They would love for me to have Hero but he will cost $25,000 which is out of my family's reach although the benefits to us all would be priceless."

To date, a team of Aussie Pooch Mobile operators from Brisbane have raised over $2,400 with further fundraising planned. However, for Liam to be able to have Hero full time, he will need all the financial help he can get.

Chris Taylor, Aussie Pooch Mobile Director says, "This is truly a case of little things can make a big difference! Aussie Pooch Mobile and the Variety Club are organising fundraising auctions and events across the Nation. We would love any support or sponsorship we can get to help this worthy cause. The smile on Liam's face makes it all worthwhile."