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Smart Pups receives Newman’s Own Foundation empowerment grant


Smart Pups Assistance Dogs for Special Needs Children is one of 23 charities from across the country to share in $1million AUD of empowerment grants from Newman’s Own Foundation, the foundation left by Hollywood actor and philanthropist the late Paul Newman.


Australian charities nationwide were invited by the Foundation to nominate individuals from within their organisations whose work empowers others to overcome extraordinary adverse circumstances, and/or provide equal access to human rights and contribute to the development of a civil society.


Smart Pups Assistance Dogs succeeded in receiving a grant to to purchase, raise and train two Medical Alert Assistance Dogs which will be certified for full public access.


Their nominated person was Patricia McAlister, the Director of Smart Pups Assistance Dogs, who founded the charity after a friend asked her to train an assistance dog for her mobility-restricted child.


According to a Smart Pups spokesperson, the Smart Pups story began when Patricia accepted an internship at ‘4 Paws for Ability’ in America which inspired her to start Smart Pups on her return to Australia as a not-for-profit venture in dog-assisted early intervention.


“Patricia manages to continually empower those around her through both trust and action and the willingness to get her hands dirty alongside them,” said Synnott.


“She also initiated and continues to campaign for legislative amendments to Queensland’s Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dog Act 2009 to ensure existing barriers around access to public places do not disadvantage special needs children, their assistance dogs or their families.”


The empowerment grant is funding the training of two diabetes alert dogs, Lexie the Labrador and Rocky Rambo the Papillion, both 7 months old. The pair will be ready to be placed with children suffering from diabetes in around 6 months following 12 months of training.


The Foundation’s Australian advisor Dimity Pinto said the nominations acknowledged anyone who had demonstrated the effort to go that extra distance to help others transform their lives.



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