Service dogs funded in young showjumper’s memory

  • Four dogs who will be trained to help people with special needs have been secured through a memorial fund for a young showjumper.

    British citizen Billie Kinder was 12 years old when she died in an accident at home in Sydney last May.

    A talented rider, her wins included titles at the New South Wales Interschools Championships in 2015.

    She was also a member of Sydney Showjumping Club and volunteered with the Riding for the Disabled Association.

    Billie Kinder Hope

    Following her death, Billie’s family released a collection of her poems and other writings — titled Hope — in honour of her wish to write a book.

    Money raised through its sales is given to charities through the Billie Kinder Foundation to help young people in palliative care or who need assistance dogs.

    Funds from the book have already gone towards three dogs in Australia, and now the trust has secured a puppy in the UK through charity Dogs for Good.

    The Labrador cross golden retriever, named Hope, is 14 months old and is being prepared to become a fully-trained assistance dog.

    Billie Kinder Hope

    “Hope is now learning all about the world around her, looked after by her volunteer puppy socialiser,” a Dogs for Good spokesman told H&H.

    She is attending puppy classes and is also learning to cope with busy places, such as shopping centres, trains, and buses, that she will encounter as a working dog.

    “At around 16 to 17 months old, Hope will start work with Dogs for Good trainers and instructors,” added the spokesman.

    Billie Kinder Hope

    “She will spend around six to eight months learning the vital skills she needs such as picking up dropped items, fetching the phone, loading and unloading the washing machine, calling lifts and helping someone dress and undress.

    “[She will also learn] how to distract or comfort a child with autism when they’re angry, anxious or distressed and to keep them safe when they are out and about.”

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    Billie’s book is published independently by her parents, Danny and David Kinder, and is being sold in more than 12 countries.

    “When we first thought of publishing Billie’s writing we couldn’t imagine just how the book would take off, but it has created its own momentum with families, libraries and we are now also hearing from orphanages,” said Danny.

    “To be able to support the provision of Response Dogs to help young people in need is a wonderful legacy and we know that Billie would have been proud to be helping other children.”

    The first proceeds from the book went to Bear Cottage, a palliative care home in Sydney for children and their families, to pay for their resident dog named Frankie.

    A seizure response dog has also been secured for a six-year-old with epilepsy, and the third donation went to assistance dogs Australia to help fund a autism service dog for a child.

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