Could you imagine being trapped inside your own world? Constantly overwhelmed by sounds, lights, and people, you’re unable to process what’s happening around you. Your senses go into overload. Without the words to express how you’re feeling your emotions take over and pour out uncontrollably.

This is what it’s like every day for a child like Cori who has autism. Until the day came when she got an Assistance Dog called Elsa who transformed her whole world.

Before Cori got an Assistance Dog she would become anxious when she went outside with her mother Christina. She needed the constant reassurance and safety of her mother’s arms. This meant Christina had to carry her daughter everywhere, from the time she was three months old to the age of seven. Cori wouldn’t take a single step outside on her own.

Christina said this made family outings incredibly difficult and stressful. She always had to go with her husband Jay. If she was exhausted carrying Cori, Jay would pick her up. They couldn’t put her down at all.

Family trips, even to the local shopping centre, were few and far between. There were days when Christina couldn’t bring Cori out of the house at all.

Now with an Assistance Dog by her side, Cori feels secure, and in control, which creates a calming effect on her. Life for the child, and the whole family, has been transformed in the most amazing way possible.

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On their first day with Assistance Dog Elsa they walked all around the park. They walked to the shop and through the neighbourhood. Christina couldn’t believe it. Her daughter had never walked anywhere on her own before.

If something like this could be achieved so quickly after having an Assistance Dog, what could be achieved years down the line?

Last Halloween was the first time Cori dressed up. Last Valentine’s Day she attended her school dance and socialised with her classmates for the first time.

Cori and Elsa have now formed an inseparable bond. This bond has transformed Cori from a child who struggled to feel comfortable and secure to one who is starting to enjoy and engage with the world around her.

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