Smart Pup for Rheegan

Smart Pup for Rheegan

Rheegan is a 3.5 year old little boy who is diagnosed as a Level 2 ASD. I am trying to raise funds to go towards getting my little boy an Autism Assistance Dog. Rheegan struggles with simple social interactions and has severe separation anxiety and is some days unable to go to day-care which then results me in losing part of my income.

102.45% Raised
$20,490.00 donated of $20,000.00 goal
155 Donors

There are so many social events that I have had to cancel going or leave due to the anxiety my son has around social interaction and Meltdowns triggered by overstimulation.

Rheegan struggles with medical/therapy appointments and having a companion by his side would help tremendously.
Rheegan was diagnosed in November 2018 with Level 2 (Mild to Severe) Autism, he is such a sweet boy but he does have regular meltdowns or outbursts due to overstimulation and anxiety. When he is around animals majority of the time dogs he appears to be much more calm and a complete different child.

Rheegan’s anxiety has stopped him from being able to attend “little school” most weeks and has affected his ability to make friends! I am getting phone calls from day-care because Rheegan is having a major meltdown and just wants to be at home or with Mum. I believe having an assistance dog will give him the extra comfort he requires when attending day-care to help with his anxiety.

Children with autism feel safer, calmer and more understood through their bond with a Smart Pup Assistance Dog. These trusty canine companions can increase an autistic child’s ability to cope with life, ease sensory overload and provide emotional support. A Smart Pup acts as a bridge between each child and the outside world; guiding children through their daily routine, keeping them safe and comforting them when the world just gets too much.

One of the big difficulties that we are currently experiencing and have for 2 years is during the nights. If Rheegan is alone in a bed he suffers from Night Terrors to the point he is sick, uncontrollably shaking and unable to process anything. The only way for Rheegan to fall asleep at the moment is with the use of medication and have me (Mum) in the bed next to him, which is where I believe that if Rheegan was to have a companion such as an assistance dog this would majorly benefit Rheegan to sleep more comfortably and feel safe in his own room as he refuses to go into his bedroom.

Having a specially trained dog to help with daily routine and outings would be amazing for Rheegan. As there have been times where Rheegan has attempted to run away from me in shopping centres/supermarkets, having a dog trained in tethering and anchoring would minimise any risk of absconding. My biggest fear is that Rheegan will run off and not be aware of his surroundings and get hurt, not only would an assistance dog be a loving companion but it would keep him safe.

Smart pups are specifically trained in Tracking the child quickly using their sense of smell when a child has wandered off and this skill can be life saving, to disrupt particular behaviours on command, by either nuzzling or laying its head on the child’s lap or the dog will lie across the child as the pressure of the dog’s body can be soothing and calming. Also by being a calming presence to the child, medical studies confirm that kids with a dog companion feel less pressure from there surroundings which result in lower frustration and anxiety levels which is a part of Autism and this will lead to better sleeping habits which helps with a better quality of life. There are so many reasons above as to why an Autism Assistance Dog would benefit my son Rheegan greatly and there are so many more.

I would like to thank you for taking your time to read about my son and his struggles in daily life and we would be very grateful for any help you can give to us in this campaign. I completely understand that people aren’t always able to donate money but if you could please share the link to Rheegan’s campaign and spread the word about my son and also the amazing organisation Smart Pups I would be forever grateful.

Thank you all.. Much love Mariah and my special little boy Rheegan xx

Every donation adds up to make a big difference! Your ongoing support goes towards training each Assistance Dog for a child with special needs. You are part of an incredible community of loyal supporters, who together help to make great things possible from what are often small beginnings.

Thank you for your donation! All donations over $2 are tax deductible. Thank you for your suppawt.

Smart Pups Team

Every donation adds up to make a big difference! Your ongoing support goes towards training each Assistance Dog for a child with special needs. You are part of an incredible community of loyal supporters, who together help to make great things possible from what are often small beginnings. Thank you for your donation! All donations over $2 are tax deductible. Thank you for your suppawt.

  • Susan Pascoe
    Posted at 09:43h, 11 January Reply

    Good luck with all the fundraising! 💜

  • Joanna Garretto
    Posted at 10:00h, 11 January Reply

    Love Jo & Casey

  • Stefanie Wolf
    Posted at 05:53h, 13 January Reply

    Much love to the little guy. Hope you’ll reach your goal soon.

  • Crystal Sutton
    Posted at 10:25h, 13 January Reply

    We love you Rheegan!

  • Eloise Lorimer
    Posted at 09:22h, 26 January Reply


  • Crystal Sutton
    Posted at 13:09h, 26 January Reply

    Go Rheegan go!

  • Sandi Kallon
    Posted at 14:58h, 26 January Reply

    My own way of contributing to Reagan’s development.
    It is my prayer that you meet your goal.

  • Kellie Britt
    Posted at 07:56h, 12 March Reply

    A dog will always be your bestfriend Regan – cannot wait to see a picture of you both – all the best Kellie

  • Andrew Sheridon
    Posted at 08:14h, 12 March Reply

    Hope this helps.

  • Katherine McCoy
    Posted at 10:10h, 12 March Reply

    I heard about this with Christian on Gold FM this morning. As par of the Gold community I wanted to contribute so that Rheegan can be safe and that hid mum can relax a tiny bit. I hope we raise enough so that other needs can also be taken care of, maybe even a little holiday. Bless you all, and bless Christian for bringing this to our attention. xx

  • Anita McGaw
    Posted at 13:07h, 12 March Reply

    Hope this helps with receiving the goal amount.

  • Wayne Bubb
    Posted at 13:35h, 12 March Reply

    Best Wishes to Rheegan and his family from Isabella, Wayne and Cath.

  • Rob York
    Posted at 15:45h, 12 March Reply

    Paying it forward!!

  • Penny Nicolson
    Posted at 17:14h, 12 March Reply

    All the best for reaching your goal! Heard your story on Gold FM and couldn’t resist helping.

  • Andrew Boulton
    Posted at 17:30h, 12 March Reply

    I just want to help because gold helped me and I know what it feels like to be helped out by strangers. It’s awesome.

  • Dale Hambridge
    Posted at 17:34h, 12 March Reply

    I’m a disability pensioner I don’t have a great deal I’m sorry I can only donate 5 dollars. I was born with a.d.d and also later paranoid skizaphania ptsd and panic attacks. But even though I have little I still want to give something I hope it helps and I hope you hit your goal I will not miss the 5 dollars and I’m happy to of helped best of luck and hope you reach your goal

  • Tony Stevens
    Posted at 17:45h, 12 March Reply

    Heard your call on Gold – wish you all the very best of luck in getting the dog!

  • Trudy Crawford
    Posted at 18:55h, 12 March Reply

    I hope my donation helps you to get to your goal quicker as to help with your son Rheegan

  • Andrew Walton
    Posted at 19:39h, 12 March Reply

    Good luck to all involved. xx

  • Michelle Evans
    Posted at 21:15h, 12 March Reply


  • Jane Foletta
    Posted at 05:16h, 13 March Reply

    Because ❤💕💕❤

  • Matt Hibbert
    Posted at 05:17h, 13 March Reply

    I think that everyone should be able to injoy life, Not just the people with money

  • Andrew Walton
    Posted at 05:19h, 13 March Reply

    So glad to help.
    Andy the Chauffeur in London.

  • Paul Taylor
    Posted at 05:27h, 13 March Reply

    You guys are great for doing this and the story really moved me yesterday

  • Jane Foletta
    Posted at 05:28h, 13 March Reply

    Because ♥️💕💕♥️

  • Janeen Hayes
    Posted at 05:29h, 13 March Reply

    Everyone needs friends xo

  • Dave johnson
    Posted at 05:41h, 13 March Reply

    I understand how the symptoms you describe can make life so difficult. My partner struggles with her own challenges in adulthood and has similar symptoms of anxiety from separation, overstimulation among many others and everyday social situations can be very difficult for her. I can understand how a trained puppy would be helpful and hope it helps Rheegan live the wonderful life we all deserve

  • Sandra McNamara
    Posted at 06:14h, 13 March Reply

    Hopefully this helps. Love the smart dog concept.

  • Leon de Villiers
    Posted at 06:17h, 13 March Reply

    Just heard this story on Christian’s show and it touched my heart. Good luck Rheegan!

  • Claire Bennett
    Posted at 06:18h, 13 March Reply

    My Daughter is low level ASD and we have just bought a puppy, it’s her best friend. Dogs are amazing.

  • Lisa Jones
    Posted at 06:18h, 13 March Reply

    I recently lost my Dad and every day I try to do something I know he’d be proud of. Dad always told me 95% of people are good. I truly believe this. So donating for such an important cause is a no brainer for me and obviously many other beautiful people!

  • Christina Chrysostomou
    Posted at 06:19h, 13 March Reply

    Hope you can reach your goal for such a great cause.

  • Maria Anzelmi
    Posted at 06:20h, 13 March Reply

    I have a 25 year old with Autism Spectrum Disorder, I know exactly what the family is going through.
    Good luck!

  • Melissa Harvey
    Posted at 06:22h, 13 March Reply

    My small thank you for the entertainment provided by Christian and his team. Good job guys!

  • Michelle Oliver
    Posted at 06:22h, 13 March Reply

    Wish I could afford more, good luck, with Christian behind you I know you will get there.

  • Dion Ganino
    Posted at 06:23h, 13 March Reply

    I just wanted to play my small part in getting this over the line.

  • Anthony Pinteric
    Posted at 06:26h, 13 March Reply

    Hoping we together can successfully reach the total needed children deserve happiness and we need to be there for each other more when times are tough God bless and best of luck …….

  • Geraldine Carroll
    Posted at 06:26h, 13 March Reply

    Following this story has made me cry! I love how love & people power can make things happen. The kids & I lost my husband to cancer… we constantly financially struggle but If we all give a little we can make it happen… every little bit helps. I know the money will be raised. Awesome job GOLD! 💜 Geri

  • James Mcfarlane
    Posted at 06:27h, 13 March Reply

    Sorry I could only leave 5 dollars as a donation, I dont have much but hope it helps. I’ll try again once a get paid.

  • Sharon Stevens
    Posted at 06:27h, 13 March Reply

    I heard your story on Gold and wanted to help. Anxiety can be debilitating and affects everyone in the household. Having a dog is the best medicine as they provide that unconditional love, support and security. Good luck with the fundraising and hope that your smart pup will be on they to you very soon.

  • Robyn Shallard
    Posted at 06:28h, 13 March Reply

    This puppy will make an amazing difference to the quality of life for Rheegan.
    All the best, Robyn

  • Wes Coles
    Posted at 06:29h, 13 March Reply

    GOLD 104 got me here. Good look!

  • Caroline Baynham
    Posted at 06:30h, 13 March Reply

    Dogs can do amazing things and I hope this helps this little man out xx

  • Kerry Robb
    Posted at 06:30h, 13 March Reply

    All the best hope you reach the target quickly xx

  • Matt Nelson
    Posted at 06:31h, 13 March Reply

    Wveryone should be able to have a dog that makes them feel special.
    This little boy deserves it more than most.

  • Ryan Walker
    Posted at 06:34h, 13 March Reply

    Sorry it isn’t a great deal of money but here’s what I can spare for a good cause

  • Norm Wright
    Posted at 06:35h, 13 March Reply

    Small difference for me contributes to big difference for Rheegan = a win

  • Jennifer Doran
    Posted at 06:37h, 13 March Reply

    Lovely story as advertised by Christain on radio, however I have decide to split my donation between two worthy receipients

  • Irene Lowe
    Posted at 06:37h, 13 March Reply

    Its not much bit everything counts. Hoping & praying this can be achieved for the little fella.

  • Luke Brizzi
    Posted at 06:39h, 13 March Reply

    I hope this helps. I would like to stay anonymous.
    Best of luck guys.

  • kate mulley
    Posted at 06:40h, 13 March Reply

    Listen to Christian O’connell show…heard about Rheegan and his smart pup, was touched by it. Go Rheegan, enjoy your new pup. xx

  • Christina Chrysostomou
    Posted at 06:42h, 13 March Reply

    I Hope you reach your target for such a great cause.

  • tania williams
    Posted at 06:42h, 13 March Reply

    Good luck, I’m sure you will make it. xxx

  • Gerard Kennedy
    Posted at 06:43h, 13 March Reply

    I only get the chance to listen to 104.3 on the way to and from work but love the show Christian. For your broad and charitable thinking I have voted that your team collectively has won the prize for the persons most likely to succeedas human beings in 2019.

  • Jo Parissis
    Posted at 06:44h, 13 March Reply

    My little boy would be turning 11 this month, I usually make a donation in his name for his birthday, as I don’t get to give him a present. This morning while I was driving to work he visited me in the form of a beautiful rainbow and a golden sunrise, while I was listening to Christian tell Rheegan’s story. All the best to little Rheegan, I hope you go on to have a very full and happy life

    • Janette Spero
      Posted at 15:34h, 13 March Reply

      Thanks so muchyour amazing ❤️ Your such a blessing to have in this world
      Omg I feel for your hurt and I wish I could do something f for you . In tears writing this reply to you Jo and such special person
      Your son is. Keep watching those rainbows hun 😭💋💋

  • Robert Clark
    Posted at 06:45h, 13 March Reply

    Sorry it only $10, having my first kid in 4 weeks, it is great to know there is so much help out there if U need it, dogs really are your best friend and I think it would be great for Rheegan to have he’s own dog to help him out

  • Jacques and Jackie Robb
    Posted at 06:46h, 13 March Reply

    Only to happy to donate to a wonderful cause, best regards Jacques and Jackie

  • Marlo Stratton
    Posted at 06:49h, 13 March Reply

    This puppy will be such an important part to Rheegan and his family lives, good luck with the fund raising, by the looks of it GOLD 104.3 listeners will you get you over the line xxx

  • jacques and Jackie
    Posted at 06:52h, 13 March Reply

    Listened to Christian O’connell show and was happy to donate $500 take care and good luck with raising to total amount

    • Janette Spero
      Posted at 15:37h, 13 March Reply

      Thanks so much

    • Janette Spero
      Posted at 15:45h, 13 March Reply

      Omg Dale your beautiful
      And thanks so much ❤️

  • Marlo Stratton
    Posted at 06:54h, 13 March Reply

    It is just a no brainer that we donate to this wonderful little boy and his new puppy, I can only imagine how much this family and Rheegan needs this dog to help with their everyday lives. Good luck and look forward to seeing a photo in due course. Thanks GOLD 104.3 for all your efforts

  • Diane Clements
    Posted at 06:57h, 13 March Reply

    All the best

  • Andrew Howie
    Posted at 07:00h, 13 March Reply

    Wish you all the best and enjoy the dog!

  • William & Steven Siafalis-Tsiatsios
    Posted at 07:14h, 13 March Reply

    We hope you get your smart pup Rheegan!

  • Ebonni Riley
    Posted at 07:22h, 13 March Reply

    They need it more than I do

  • Kim Martin
    Posted at 07:24h, 13 March Reply

    Thank you Gold 104.3 for giving a beautiful little boy and his family a better life.

  • Bec Wilson
    Posted at 07:27h, 13 March Reply

    What a wonderful job you guys do with these beautiful dogs and how they can help kids with disabilities is just incredible. We are so happy to help this beautiful family and can’t wait for Rheegan to get his Smart Pup

  • Debbie Wren
    Posted at 07:33h, 13 March Reply

    20 each for my 3 Grandchildren. All in the spectum. Best wishes to your family

    • Janette Spero
      Posted at 15:49h, 13 March Reply

      That’s beautiful Debbie Wten and thank the grandkids from us and their will be photos once the dog is with him. I will ask Gold to put them on their web

    • Janette Spero
      Posted at 15:51h, 13 March Reply

      That’s beautiful Debbie Wten and thank the grandkids from us and their will be photos once the dog is with him. I will ask Gold to put them on their web

  • Belinda Rutledge
    Posted at 07:35h, 13 March Reply

    What an amazing family! Sending lots of good wishes your way. xx

  • Tracey McGreevy
    Posted at 07:47h, 13 March Reply

    Don’t stop there, why not get another smart pup for another child there are so many people in need. I am from a family who has a male line of autism, which skips a generation. The dogs we have owned have been ‘unsmart’ dogs but have made such a difference to our boys a smart pup can make a difference to many, like SUPER NAN says these dogs work wonders. Carry on the great work Australia you’ve done good.

  • Terri Trewin
    Posted at 07:48h, 13 March Reply

    I know you have what you need, but this pup’s going to need vet care and food etc, so, I’d like to contribute to that.

    • Janette Spero
      Posted at 15:40h, 13 March Reply

      What a lovely gesture Terri that’s on our list to follow up. Pet insurance , grooming and vacs are expensive
      Thanks for the support speak to Gold about ongoing care they may have suggestions
      Thanks again x

      • Terri
        Posted at 07:25h, 14 March Reply

        My absolute pleasure. I have a pup Spoodle. The upkeep is expensive (but 100% worth it).

  • Daniela Ferri
    Posted at 07:48h, 13 March Reply

    Christian, I have an 18 yo with ASD and he’s getting on very well. I hope this pup really helps little Rheegan and his mum. Daniela

  • Geoff McFarlane
    Posted at 08:00h, 13 March Reply

    As Peter Logan would put it, we take what we have for granted. We as humans are capable of many things, unfortunately some like little Rheegan, are delt cruel blows and we should help those who are less fortunate than ourselves.
    All best for a happy life little Rheegan.

  • Debbie Rose
    Posted at 08:18h, 13 March Reply

    We all need to help each other out in times of need. Our children are our future.

  • Leanne Freeman
    Posted at 08:22h, 13 March Reply

    I was driving to work this morning and heard Christian talking about this little boy.
    He made me cry. I have 3 beautiful grandchildren and feel so lucky that they appear to have no disabilities. I hope this puppy/dog will make life a little easier for Rheegan and his family.

  • Katherine Dejanovic
    Posted at 08:37h, 13 March Reply

    I have been listing all morning and I feel like I need to donate. Gold is amazing

  • Carol Edwards
    Posted at 08:39h, 13 March Reply

    All the best xx

  • Cindy Barber
    Posted at 09:09h, 13 March Reply

    It is a pleasure to be a part of this. Animals are a joy to live with and we all benefit from their company, as will your little boy.
    I have worked with adults with various intellectual disabilities and understand that it can be exhausting at times. I believe with all my heart that your new smartpup will give you some security and enable you to relax a little. Sending lots of warm fuzzies your way. Regards, Cindy

  • Marie Magdziarz
    Posted at 09:20h, 13 March Reply

    Good luck with your Smart Pup Rheegan.

  • Derek Sandilands
    Posted at 13:03h, 13 March Reply

    Heard the story on Christian O’Connell – Gold podcast. Such a great cause.

  • Jenni Purdey
    Posted at 13:08h, 13 March Reply

    We hope your smartpup arrives soon
    Good Luck and best wishes
    Jenni and Noel

  • Kevin Lyle
    Posted at 16:20h, 13 March Reply

    Just a little something from the U.K. to help get to the target. Great Job OC keep it up

  • James Faris
    Posted at 16:25h, 13 March Reply

    Ex xfm listener and followed you since

  • Lee Badham
    Posted at 17:20h, 13 March Reply

    Heard Rheegans story on the Christian O’Connell breakfast show podcast on GOLD104.3 here in the UK. So moved by what his ‘supergran’ was trying to do so I thought I should help.

  • Neil Browne
    Posted at 17:32h, 13 March Reply

    Wishing the family all the very best.

    Posted at 19:16h, 13 March Reply

    I’m a regular listener to the Christian O’Connell breakfast show podcast in the UK. I heard about the campaign to raise funds for Reagan and thought I’d like to chip in. My wife is a special needs teacher and teaches autistic children and therefore can appreciate in a small way how difficult it is for you.
    good luck to you all and I hope that Reagan get his puppy very soon

  • Anne Jefferies
    Posted at 19:50h, 13 March Reply

    Heard your story on the Christian O’Connell podcast, happy to support such a fab cause!

  • Bruce Suggate
    Posted at 20:20h, 13 March Reply

    hello morning show mr christian i was driving this morning and when you came on radio re the dog for the little guy i thought to at least give $10 i put myself in there shows so i called up the office and said tonight il throw in 10$ so here it is.

    hey Christian please put me down in your diary if you ever need a truck driven or any truck work pleaseeeeeeee contact me 0477004414

  • John Foy
    Posted at 20:48h, 13 March Reply

    Brought a tear to my eye, good luck

  • Carole-Annr Clark
    Posted at 21:38h, 13 March Reply

    A long-time listener of Christian’s from the UK, happy to chip in, good luck with getting the puppy for Rheegan.

  • Carole-Anne Clark
    Posted at 21:38h, 13 March Reply

    A long-time listener of Christian’s from the UK, happy to chip in, good luck with getting the puppy for Rheegan.

  • Lindsay J
    Posted at 03:49h, 14 March Reply

    Listening to Christian’s pod cast and just had to donate.
    Love from London, UK 💙

  • Tom Stevens
    Posted at 05:30h, 14 March Reply

    I hope this $10 donation helps Rheegan the confidense to be himself, and keeps him save doing everyday things. These dogs are wonderful!

  • Rhys Milne
    Posted at 07:51h, 14 March Reply

    Patrick is a legend

  • Tim Vines
    Posted at 08:00h, 14 March Reply

    I love the show. What you guys are doing for the community is fantastic.
    Please keep it up

  • Diane Attrill
    Posted at 08:01h, 14 March Reply

    My son and I have listened to your station over the last few days and have been in tears knowing how generous the community have been in providing for a stranger. We can’t even imagine how hard it must be for some families who have children on spectrum on a daily basis. Hoping this little donation can make a difference.

  • Sue Mittelstadt
    Posted at 08:01h, 14 March Reply

    Having bawled my eyes out yesterday morning and hearing this morning I just had to donate what I could. I have a daughter and grandson with autism so can identify some of the struggles they have. I wish them all the happiness they deserve. Lotsa luv

  • Virginia Robinson
    Posted at 08:02h, 14 March Reply

    Patrick’s paying it forward. Such a great cause, can’t wait to hear the next child’s story.

  • The Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show
    Posted at 09:14h, 14 March Reply

    You are a very special boy with super powers. You might not know what your super powers are yet, but I have met you and I know you have super powers. And now you are about to get a Super Dog, which every super hero needs. I can’t wait to meet your SmartPup.
    You have an amazing family, and now all of Melbourne is part of your family and loves you. How cool is that?
    Big Love,
    Your mate in the morning,

  • Jaya Hegde
    Posted at 06:27h, 15 March Reply


  • Nicole Will
    Posted at 18:48h, 16 March Reply

    Days b4 Xmas, I was buying ingredients for my sons b’day cake. My Eftpos card was declined, insufficient funds. The checkout lady pulled her card out of her pocket and paid for my groceries. She asked me not to repay her but to pay it forward.

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