Tail of a new best friend

Published on LEUT Naomi Deignan (author)

Topic(s): Keeping Watch, HMAS Success (OR 304)

Petty Officer Electronics Technician Jeremy Younger, of HMAS Success, with his family with their new canine family member who is from the Dogs for Kids with Disabilities organisation (photo: Unknown)
Petty Officer Electronics Technician Jeremy Younger, of HMAS Success, with his family with their new canine family member who is from the Dogs for Kids with Disabilities organisation

Petty Officer Electronics Technician Jeremy Younger, of HMAS Success, is hoping the newest addition to his household will make a difference for his young family.
 
Petty Officer Younger and his wife, Leigh, have four children, all of whom have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
 
While dealing with the daily challenges of autism, combined with consistent periods of time away from his family, Petty Officer Younger learnt that the Dogs for Kids with Disabilities organisation might be able to assist his family.
 
The organisation is not-for-profit, based in Victoria, specialising in assistance dogs for children with autism and other developmental disorders.
 
It takes 18 months to raise and train an assistance dog before it is ready to be matched with its child, or children.
 
It costs $25,000 to train each dog. As Dogs for Kids with Disabilities does not receive any government funding, the families rely on fundraising and the generosity of others to help cover the costs.
 
The financial hurdle, along with a waiting list (not all children are eligible for this program), makes applying for the program a big decision for any family. 

Petty Officer Younger said that after much investigation and soulsearching they decided this would be a massive benefit to the entire family, so they applied.
 
“We met with the founder, Katie Hunter, and were delighted with all the children’s responses to the dog,” Petty Officer Younger said.
 
“The day we got the letter saying we’d been accepted on the waiting list was so exciting for all of us.”
 
With the support of his Divisional System, Petty Officer Younger applied for a Navy Keeping Watch grant to assist with the funding.
 
Keeping Watch is the charity arm of the Royal Australian Navy Relief Trust Fund that provides assistance to Navy members and their families in financial need.
 
It is an important program that helps Navy provide for the comfort, welfare and recreation of serving members.
 
Keeping Watch has flexibility in the assistance it can provide, and since its inception in 2014, 36 grants, totalling $103,150, have been disbursed.
 
For further information on Keeping Watch, including how to make a tax deductible donation to support the work of the Navy’s charity, visithttp://www.keepingwatch.org.au.
 
Defence families with special needs can contact Defence Community Organisation or the Defence Special Needs Support Group in their region via http://dsnsg.org.au/.