Family's plea for Smart Pup to help their 'beautiful boy'
A SUNSHINE Coast family is desperately trying to raise funds to give their nine-year-old son a four-legged best friend that could save his life.
Kobe Wooster, a "kind, smart and beautiful boy", has severe autism and anxiety and often struggles with violent meltdowns that put himself and his family in danger.
His mum, Kiaona, says it's devastating to see her little boy hurt himself when he can't control his emotions.
"He's the most beautiful, kind-hearted, relaxed, quiet boy who wouldn't want to hurt a fly," she said.
"When he is in a meltdown he has no control over that and he doesn't mean to, nor does he want to.
"When he finally is feeling better it will result in him self punishing. His anxiety has really got the better of him."
But a "life-changing" dog could help Kobe stay calm and give his family peace-of-mind.
He's been selected to receive an autism assistance dog from Smart Pups, a Sunshine Coast-based non profit that provides assistance dogs to children in need to improve their independence and quality of life.
As the organisation receives no government funding, it pursues donations, sponsorships and partnerships to cover costs. Each family also agrees to fundraise to cover the $25,000 it costs to train a Smart Pup.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help the Wooster family raise the extra $20,000 they need to get Kobe a Smart Pup. More than $2300 was raised in the first day.
"It's just blown me away. I can't thank everyone enough from the bottom of our hearts," Mrs Wooster said.
"Everyone has just been amazing and I just didn't think it would go this far so quickly."
Mrs Wooster said a 24/7 assistance dog would "absolutely change his life".
After taking Kobe to see a Smart Pup late last year, she said she was amazed by how the dog instantly calmed her son.
"It was the first time in such a long time I'd seen Kobe so calm, just sitting their patting this dog and so happy," Mrs Wooster said.
"I feel like I've done everything within my power and tried everything I possibly can. This is sort of a last resort for us that I think would just change his life and give us some normality back.
"Just giving me peace of mind that he's safe and there's another pair of eyes on him."
For more information and to donate to the GoFuneMe, visit gofundme.com/f/kobe039s-autism-assistance-dog.