"Our beautiful boy Ranger holds a very special place in our family and everyone's hearts. He has changed our lives forever."
Digger and I farm a sheep and beef property in Otorohanga. We have three children: Josh, TJ and Kyle. Kyle is an autistic non-verbal lad. We had got to a stage with our family where it was impossible to take Kyle out in public easily without having to deal with meltdowns, bad behaviour, or just simply not getting out of the car at our desired destinations. Basic everyday tasks like going to the supermarket were totally impossible. The only exception of the rule for Kyle was at Sheep Shearing Competitions, his absolute happy place.
For 5 years we had used au pairs just to allow some slight normality for our other two older children Josh and TJ, until Josh went to boarding school. We had researched the idea of an Assistance Dog, but thought we could just battle along doing what were doing (or not doing). We relied heavily on Kyle's older sister TJ and his elderly grandmother to take care of him, allowing us to take part in some normal activities like following Josh’s school functions and sporting endeavors.
In July 2018 our life changed, ADNZT's Ranger came to join our family when Kyle was about to turn 15 years of age. Suddenly we were able to go out in public with some form of normality. Ranger was invaluable in calming Kyle in intense situations. Ranger worked out when Kyle is going to “lose the plot” and found a strategy to diffuse the situation – he runs around like an idiot to divert his attention with numerous toys in his mouth.
Our first big adventure was to fly to Wellington to watch the All Blacks play the Springboks. On this trip, we went to a café for lunch, Te Papa, a dinner out in a restaurant and of course the rugby Test. All normal things to most people, but for us and Kyle, something totally new. This was an amazing experience and it would not have been possible without Rangers' help. We have since had other holidays to Queenstown and Naseby. Things have continued on a positive note. When Kyle is in a safe situation, he is able to take the lead and I can be hands-free. Slowly he is gaining some independence when out in public. Our beautiful boy Ranger holds a very special place in our family and everyone's hearts. He has changed our lives forever.