The parents of 11-year-old Amy O’Mahony, who has Autism with complex needs and lost her assistance dog to cancer, are trying to raise €5,000 in order to fund the training of a new service dog for their daughter.
Amy previously had a service dog called Charlie from Service Dogs Europe, but unfortunately, after four years with Amy, Charlie got cancer and had to be put to sleep.
Amy’s dad Stuart said telling Amy that Charlie was never coming back was the hardest thing he ever had to do as a parent.
“It was awful, she just screamed for hours. She was devastated.” Amy, who has three brothers and four sisters, has stopped engaging in extracurricular activities such as going to the park since Charlie died.
“She has regressed a bit since Charlie died,” Stuart said, “She has stopped going out to places such as the park and she gets upset more easily.” Stuart said getting to school in the morning is a bit of a chore now as Charlie had been great for putting Amy in good spirits.
“Amy hates school anyway, but in the morning if she wasn’t getting up, Charlie used to go in and hop up on the bed and she would rub him and then get up for school. Now it is a screaming match.” Amy’s dad said that Amy had a connection with Charlie that no human could ever replace and looking after Amy is a little tougher without him.
“Amy has no sense of danger, so if she saw something across the road, she would just go towards it, she wouldn’t look. When we had Charlie she was tethered to him and if he felt her pull he would drop like an anchor.”
Stuart said the Douglas family were very lucky to get a puppy called Jinx from My Canine Companion, but they had to donate half the cost of the training for the labrador puppy, who is 12 weeks old.
“Amy really likes Jinx. She was a bit taken back at first because she wanted a girl, but then the Canine Companion lady told her that Jinx was picked especially for her because he likes cuddles.” Amy’s dad said that they are hoping Amy will bond with Jinx over the coming weeks.
Jinx needs 16 months training in the home with Amy and another 16 weeks with the charity My Canine Companion.
Stuart outlined the importance of getting another service dog for Amy. “The impact it has huge. Charlie was a comfort for Amy, emotionally as well as keeping her safe. We just want to see a smile back on her face.”
To support this cause, visit https://www.gofundme.com/amy039s-assistant-dog-jinx