Carol trying to pull Cody along
Carol trying to encourage Cody.

Mia’s life has been transformed by the newest member of her family. The nine-year-old is on the autism spectrum and last September Awhina came to live with her. Awhina is a beautiful black Labrador who loves to play and cuddle but she also has another very important role. She is a trained assistance dog and accompanies Mia to the shopping centre, on school trips, to the zoo and movies, camping and even paddle boarding. She helps keep Mia safe and is helping her develop her social skills. Mia’s parents say Awhina has strengthened their family and, where once one parent would stay home with their daughter, the entire family is now participating in the community together. 

Assistance dogs


Left: Tracy Huff putting an assistance dog through its paces.
Right: Assistance Dogs New Zealand founder Julie Hancox with Loofey.