07 Sep Meet our 200th Smart Pup!
Former ‘Wild child’, pup Jester tries his graduation hat for size, in preparation for his big day. In September Jester will finish his training and leave his kennel mates and foster family to become the 200th Assistance dog to be placed by Smart Pups.
An accidental honour, the luck of the numbers, Jester might not have been our predicted ‘poster child’ to carry this flag for us. His foster Alison described him as mischievous, his trainer Carolyn called him cheeky and they were both being kind! In the kennels Jester was always the noise maker and the ring leader in any trouble!
Without the consistent ground rules set by Smart Pups and the hard work of his trainer and foster, I feel Jester’s problem child status may have stayed with him. Carolyn also credits his time spent in prison as a turning point in his training. He came out a changed young dog, mature, obedient and responsible. This is a result of the long hours and hard work put in by prisoners at Queensland Correctional Centres, who partner with Smart Pups to assist us in training our dogs.
Today the words used to describe Jester are far more complimentary. Alison describes him as loyal, a dog who loves to please and to work. He is curious too. Alison likes the way he sits back to watch activity around him, thinking through games with great intelligence.
So, on reflection perhaps Jester is the perfect ambassador dog for our 200 celebrations. He doesn’t look like a lot of other Smart Pups. He didn’t always behave in an acceptable way (unrolling toilet paper through Alison’s house), he liked to be noisy and required a lot of patience, from Carolyn, to enable him to achieve.
Why is Jester perfect? Because his own transformation mirrors that of the special needs children we aim to assist. The 199 dogs that have gone before him have helped make positive changes a reality for their children and their families. The 199 before him have made profound and life changing differences, often where other interventions have failed.
200 dogs, across every State and Territory in Australia, have not just assisted 200 children, the count of lives touched by Smart Pups is much greater. For every dog placed there is a parent who can at last sleep at night, a sibling who can now enjoy outings and a classmate who incidentally shares in the benefits of an Assistance dog in the classroom.
Jester’s new family will be the next to feel this benefit. Jester’s boy will be able to have Jester with him at Scouts. His parents will feel secure knowing that Jester loves to track and will be there to find their son should he run away.
They will get to know and love their new family member, appreciate his skills and training, but also fall in love with his spunky flare and the slightest hint of cheeky that makes him our 200th star!